China Open: World No.1 Barty sets up Osaka final

Ashleigh Barty will meet Naomi Osaka in the 2019 China Open final after she squeezed through in three tense sets against Kiki Bertens.

Ashleigh Barty hits a return during her China Open semifinal against Kiki Bertens on Saturday.   -  AP

Ashleigh Barty will meet Naomi Osaka in the China Open final after the world number one squeezed through in three tense sets against Kiki Bertens on Saturday.

The Australian committed 52 unforced errors but still just about emerged victorious, saving match point in a nervy 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (9/7) victory in Beijing. The 23-year-old Barty looked all set to rush into Sunday's final and dominated the first set against the shell-shocked Bertens.

But the 27-year-old Dutchwoman struck back to win the second set of their semi-final by the same 6-3 scoreline and take the match to a decider. They went with serve until the fifth game of the third set, when Bertens, ranked eighth in the world, profited from another Barty error to go a break up.

Bertens though lost her nerve when serving for the match, the momentum swinging back in Barty's favour. Barty went down 3-1 in the tiebreak, but overcame the deficit to seal the victory.

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Meanwhile, Naomi Osaka dumped out defending champion Caroline Wozniacki to book a huge China Open final against Barty.

Following up on her win at the Pan Pacific Open, Australian Open champion Osaka reached another final by impressively defeating Wozniacki, a two-time winner of this tournament, 6-4 6-2. Osaka fired 30 winners to Wozniacki's 13 and converted three of her five break points as her assertive style proved decisive in a 65-minute victory.

Wozniacki had incredibly won 20 consecutive sets at the China Open dating back to her 2018 victory at the event, but failed to take any of her seven break points as that spectacular run came to an emphatic end. Osaka saved one of those break opportunities to level a close first set at 4-4 before building on that momentum.

She made the decisive break with a forehand winner down the line in the next game and then held to claim the first set, sealing the opener with a powerful volley. The second set was more comfortable, as Osaka's momentum continued with a break in the opening game.

Wozniacki had chances, though, with two missed opportunities to break straight back and another going begging that could have prevented her Japanese opponent moving into a 3-1 lead. Osaka then broke again to move into complete control and an unreturned serve on her first match point soon after finished the job.