The first semifinal pits 20-year-old Jelena Ostapenko, the #8 seed and reigning French Open champion against 21-year-old Ashleigh Barty of Australia. The Latvian took the tennis world by surprise this year, winning her first ever tournament at the French Open. She backed up her win with a second title last week in Seoul. Both players are hitting the ball well in Wuhan, with Ostapenko dispatching world #1 Garbine Muguruza last night in three sets and Barty having a career week, felling three seeds in a row including world #4 Karolina Pliskova. The two have only met once, with Ostapenko coming out on top earlier this year on the clay in Rome in a tight three-set battle.
In the second semifinal, 22-year-old Maria Sakkari of Greece goes up against 23-year-old Caroline Garcia of France. Sakkari is having the week of her young career, coming up through qualifying and beating #4 Caroline Wozniacki and #16 Elena Vesnina on her way to the semifinals. Garcia was once pegged by Andy Murray as the future “number one in the world” after seeing her play at the 2011 French Open. The Frenchwoman has been battling back injuries off and on since the end of last year, but has put a fine run together this week, taking out #12 Angelique Kerber and last year’s finalist, #7 Dominika Cibulkova. The two have never met.
The doubles semifinals features an exciting lineup including 3 of the top 4 seeds.
In the first match on Centre Court, #1 seeds Martina Hingis and Yung-Jan Chan take on #3 Sania Mirza and Shuai Peng. Hingis and Mirza know each others’ games particularly well, having had an extremely successful partnership in 2015/16, winning 14 titles including three Grand Slams. Since then, they regularly find themselves on opposite sides of the net, with Hingis having won 4 of 5 times they’ve faced each other in 2017, most recently in the semifinals of the US Open where Hingis / Chan defeated Mirza / Peng 6-4, 6-4.
In the last match of the day, Ashleigh Barty will take to the court again with partner Casey Dellacqua as they play against China’s Zhaoxuan Yang and Japan’s Shuko Aoyama. The Chinese – Japanese team have experienced success this year, having taken a title in Tokyo and making an additional final and two semifinals. The two teams have already met three times this year, with Yang / Aoyama winning on the hard courts at the US Open and in Indian Wells.