Ashleigh Barty overcame a stern challenge from Petra Martic to reach the semi-finals of the Wuhan Open for the third year in a row.

The world number one was made to work hard for her 7-6 (8-6) 3-6 6-3 victory, which set up a last-four clash with reigning champion Aryna Sabalenka.

Fellow seed Petra Kvitova enjoyed more serene progress in her straight-sets win over Dayana Yastremska.

But there was a shock in store for the third-ranked Elina Svitolina, who lost to Alison Riske in a surprisingly one-sided encounter.

BARTY BATTLES THROUGH

French Open champion Barty showed her grit to secure a semi-final spot at this tournament once again.

Martic made life tough for the Australian and even shrugged off the disappointment of a first-set tie-break loss to win the second set.

It was in that set that Martic produced some of her best tennis, the Croatian tallying just four unforced errors in a demonstration of clean hitting.

However, when it came to the decider it was Barty who upped her level, dictating rallies with a potent mixture of power and precision.

She will face Sabalenka after the Belarusian also needed three sets to get past Elena Rybakina, triumphing 6-3 1-6 6-1.

SVITOLINA OUSTED BY INSPIRED RISKE

The second semi-final will see two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova take on Riske, when she might have been expecting to meet Svitolina.

Riske made an early statement of intent by winning the first set 6-1 and she wrapped up the match after taking the second 6-3 to leave Svitolina stunned.

It was the American’s coolness under pressure that made the difference, Riske fending off four of the five break points she faced to down a player ranked 32 places above her.

Kvitova was similarly dominant in her 6-2 6-4 victory over Yastremska.