Ashleigh Barty continues to hold on to her No.1 ranking, advancing to the third round of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open with a comeback victory over Caroline Garcia, 4-6 6-4 6-1.
Two years after losing the Wuhan final to Garcia, the top-seeded Barty readjusted her game and reduced her errors to recover from dropping the opening set and beat the Frenchwoman for the second time in a row, after also dispatching her en route to the Zhuhai Elite Trophy title last year.
Both players had more errors than winners in the close first set, but Barty’s differential was worse. The Australian cleaned up her game as the match progressed — after saving three break points at the start of the second set she improved her serve stats, and following a series of holds recorded a love break to level the match. Early on in the decider, Barty again saved a break point, but from 1-1, the world No.1 won 20 of the last 26 points of the match to make the third round of the Premier 5 tournament.
Barty’s next opponent will be 15th seed Sofia Kenin, who came to Wuhan freshly decorated with the Guangzhou Open champion’s trophy. The American advanced with a 4-6 6-4 7-6(5) marathon victory against Elise Mertens on Tuesday.