WUHAN, September 28, 2017 (Press Release)
Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko kept up her winning run of form with a thrilling 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over World No.1 and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open on Thursday. Ostapenko, who remains on course to win her second title in a row after lifting the trophy in Seoul last week, takes on Ashleigh Barty in Friday’s semi-finals.
“When you come from another tournament, especially as I won the tournament, I’m more confident,” said Ostapenko. “First match here I was, Okay, how I’m going to do? Just my best. What happens, that happens. Then I won, and now I’m in semifinal.”
Barty has been in irresistible form at this week in Wuhan and will be gunning for her fourth Top 20 win in a row in Saturday’s semi-final against Ostapenko.
“I played against her this year in Rome. I think she’s a great player. Still young,” said Ostapenko. “Hopefully if I can show my best tomorrow, we’ll have a good match.”
Barty, 21, added World No.4 Karolina Pliskova’s name to her list of scalps on Thursday, earning the first Top Five win of her career with a hard-fought 4-6, 7-6(3) 7-6(2) comeback victory. Barty has beaten Catherine Bellis, Johanna Konta (ranked 7), Agnieszka Radwanska (13) and now Pliskova (4) to earn a spot in her first WTA Premier 5 semi-final.
This is proving to be a busy week for Barty, who is also through to the Wuhan Open doubles semi-finals with partner Casey Dellacqua. The pair are scheduled to take on Shuko Aoyama and Zhaoxuan Yang in the evening session on Friday.
“I think maybe deep down we knew some of these results were possible, but I don’t think quite having the consistency throughout the year that we’ve had, I really thought was possible,” said Barty. “I just feel like every match this season is almost getting better and better. I feel more comfortable on the court. I’m playing with more freedom. You know, I’m happy off the court as well, which obviously helps. Just been a really, really nice year. A long year. We’ve worked very hard. But I think we’re reaping the rewards.”
It has already been a memorable week for qualifier Maria Sakkari, who faces off against Caroline Garcia in Friday’s other semi-finals. Sakkari is on a six-match winning streak in Wuhan – including her two qualifying wins – and added Alize Cornet to her list of scalps on Thursday with a 7-6(2), 7-5 victory over the Frenchwoman.
“I still haven’t realised it yet because it’s been a long week for me. But it’s a dream that comes true. I really want to live more moments like the one that I’m living now,” said Sakkari. “It’s been a tough week for me. I mean, a good week obviously. But it’s not time to be tired. I still have tomorrow’s match, and why not more matches to come?”
Garcia proved too strong for Ekaterina Makarova, notching up a 7-6(4), 6-4 win to earn her semi-final place.
Top seeds Yung-Jan Chan and Martina Hingis take on third seeds Sania Mirza and Shuai Peng of China in Friday’s opening doubles match.