Juggernaut Ashleigh Barty belts Jelena Ostapenko

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Wuhan (China): Australia’s Ashleigh Barty crushed French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia 6-3, 6-0 on Friday, cruising into the final at the Wuhan Open.

Barty, who began the year ranked outside the top 300, will face Caroline Garcia in her first ever Premier 5 tournament final after the French player toppled Greece’s Maria Sakkari 6-3, 6-2 in a one-way semi-final.

Ostapenko, ranked 10 in the world, struggled with a niggle to her right wrist and appeared tired after triumphing over world number one Garbine Muguruza in the quarters.

Barty, ranked 37th in the world, snatched an early break in the first set to lead her normally fiery opponent 2-0. Ostapenko broke back but the Australian moved ahead again in the sixth game and held on to close the first set in just under an hour.

After breaking early in the second, Barty stormed ahead to the finishing line in less than 30 minutes.

Barty had already seen off former world number one Karolina Pliskova, Agnieszka Radwanska, seeded nine, and Johanna Konta, the fifth seed in a dream run in the Chinese city.

“It’s been an unbelievable week. I’ve played some really good tennis at a really consistent level throughout the match and haven’t had any real drops,” 21-year-old Barty said.

In the other semi-final, Garcia dominated qualifier Sakkari to reach her first final of the year and the first Premier 5 level final of her career.

Garcia, ranked 20 in the world, had earlier triumphed over Dominika Cibulkova, seeded seven, and number 12 seed Angelique Kerber.

Bondarenko wins title in Tashkent

Moscow: Ukraine’s veteran Kateryna Bondarenko beat second seeded Timea Babos of Hungary in straight sets to claim the title at Tashkent Open WTA tournament on Saturday.

Bondarenko, 31, who is 133rd in the WTA rankings, prevailed 6-4, 6-4 in one hour 28 minutes.

Ukraine’s veteran looked confident from the start and broke her rival’s serve in the seventh game for a one-set lead after 38 minutes. In the second set Bondarenko broke early again for a comfortable 3-0 lead, which she kept throughout to claim her career’s second WTA title.  



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