After Li Na, new star Wang leads rise of China's women


Wang Qiang became the first Chinese tennis player in history to progress to the semifinals of the Wuhan Open, after winning her quarterfinal against Puerto Rico's Monica Puig here on Thursday.

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus overcame last year's runner-up Ashleigh Barty 7-6 (2) 6-4 in the Wuhan Open semi-finals on Friday to set up a title clash with Estonian Anett Kontaveit on Saturday. "My physical body couldn't give me a miracle".

Barty had beaten Sabalenka in their only previous meeting at the Australian Open in January but the 20-year-old has improved since winning her first career title in CT.

However, Wang, who grabbed headlines at the French Open this year with her straight-sets demolition of Venus Williams, said she is growing in confidence after a successful year, and playing in front of home crowds has helped boost her game.

Her exit means the first final of 2018 for the 22-year-old Kontaveit, who will be looking to win her second WTA title.

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In a closer game than the scoreline suggests, Kontaveit was very consistent on serve, only being broken once during the match.

After a tight first set, Sabalenka broke serve early in the second and was able to keep Cibulkova at arm's length for the remainder of the match, with five aces helping her cause. "Well, I'm so happy that I finish this match with win".

Gasparyan, 24, had a much tougher time, but rallied to beat Germany's Mona Barthel 4-6, 6-1, 7-5.

Wang, China's new great tennis hope, had to stop with Estonia's Kontaveit leading 6-2, 2-1, while the hard-hitting Sabalenka beat Barty 7-6 (7/2), 6-4.

Barty pulled off one of the upsets of the tournament on Wednesday when she knocked out Wimbledon champion and world number three Angelique Kerber in straight sets. "I'm just trying to do my best and put up my best performance".