World No.1 Ashleigh Barty recovered from a break down in the third set and saved a match point to beat Kiki Bertens in a tense three-setter and reach the final of the China Open.
Barty entered Saturday’s semifinal with impressive 92.5% of service games won and her strong stats in that department continued in the first set against Bertens, as Barty raced to 6-3, her only hiccups in the set being one break point she faced at 5-2 and the fact that Bertens recovered from 0-40 to hold serve in the eighth game.
The second set had an identical score progression as the first, but this time the dominant player was Bertens. The eighth-seeded Dutchwoman stormed to a 3-0 lead and held on to it until she forced the decider.
After an exchange of breaks at the start of the third set, Bertens was on the verge of squeezing past Barty for the first time in their four career meetings, serving for the match at 5-4, but Barty then broke for 5-5 to stay alive. In the tense tiebreak, both players were one point away from winning the match, but Barty was the one who converted her match point, her second one, and advanced with a 6-3 3-6 7-6(7) victory.
Barty’s opponent in the final will be either Naomi Osaka or defending champion Caroline Wozniacki.