ASHLEIGH Barty’s run at the Wuhan Open has come to an end in the semi-finals after going down to powerful Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka.
Barty, last year’s runner-up, couldn’t contend with the heavy hitting of Sabalenka and went down 7-6 (7-2) 6-4.
One of the form players of the hard court season, Sabalenka took out the New Haven title last month and was the only player to snatch a set off US Open champion Naomi Osaka.
She’s risen from No.73 in the world to No.20 this year.
But Barty wasn’t without her chances on Friday night.
The Australian served for the first set at 5-4 but Sabalenka found her range to break and level the match.
Both players then held to force a tiebreak but Sabalenka dominated to secure the set.
Her hot streak continued in the second as she took a 2-0 lead and Barty couldn’t take advantage of three break points as Sabalenka eventually closed out the set 6-4 She will meet Anett Kontaveit in the final, the Estonian winning her semi-final when China’s Qiang Wang retired when down 6-2 2-1.
Wang pulled out with a left thing injury, dashing hopes of becoming the first Chinese player to appear in the final at the Wuhan Open.
She took a medical timeout at 2-5 in the first set, but was unable to recover, and retired early in the second.