World no.1 Barty struggles into China Open final

Beijing (AFP) –


Ashleigh Barty will meet Caroline Wozniacki or 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.

Title-holder Wozniacki and reigning Australian Open champion Osaka play their semi-final later Saturday.