Heather Watson continued her surprise run at the Tianjin Open by beating Magda Linette to reach the semi-finals after saving four match points on Friday.

The Brit had not won a hard-court match on the WTA Tour for over a year before this week, but is two wins away from being crowned champion after a 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (8-6) victory over the eighth seed.

World number 125 Watson was taken the distance after seeing a match point come and go in the second set and forced a tie-break after Linette had four chances to wrap up the quarter-final.

The unseeded Watson eventually prevailed by securing a ninth mini-break in the final set and will face Veronika Kudermetova in the last four.

Russian Kudermetova toppled third seed Dayana Yastremska 6-4 6-0 in a battle of heavy hitters.

There will be no seeds in the semi-finals after Ons Jabeur defeated Yulia Putintseva 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-4). 

Jabeur will come up against Rebecca Peterson with a place in the final at stake following the Swede's 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-2 success against home hope Wang Yafan.

Caroline Garcia's Tianjin Open title defence came to a grinding halt against Wang Yafan on Wednesday.

The Frenchwoman suffered a 6-4 6-2 loss to exit at the last-16 stage, leaving Chinese player Wang to face Sweden's Rebecca Peterson in the quarter-finals.

Peterson was leading 7-5 3-2 against Wang Xinyu when her Chinese opponent retired hurt.

Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva, the sixth seed, sealed a dominant 6-1 6-2 triumph over 2011 US Open champion Samantha Stosur.

Up next for the world number 36 is a meeting with Ons Jabeur, who downed Wang Xiyu 6-4 6-2.

World number one Ashleigh Barty eased into the third round of the China Open with a straight-sets win over Yulia Putintseva.

Barty completed a 6-4 6-2 triumph in an hour and 15 minutes, but was not overly enamoured with a performance featuring 23 winners and seven aces.

"It was solid without being fantastic," the Australian said afterwards. "It was what we needed to do. 

"There were times where it was pretty good and there were times where it was challenging. Pretty happy with how we were able to get on a roll in the second set a little bit there."

Barty came from a set down to defeat Putintseva in Madrid this year but there were no such heroics required of the French Open champion this time around.

Next up, she faces Saisai Zheng, who thrilled the home crowd and stunned 13th seed Sloane Stephens with a 6-3 6-1 victory.

Osaka and Wozniacki dish out punishment

Naomi Osaka continued her dominant recent form as she dispatched Andrea Petkovic 6-2 6-0 inside an hour.

Fresh from victory on home soil at the Pan Pacific Open, Japan's reigning Australian Open champion hit 21 winners to 11 unforced errors en route to a sixth successive win and claimed a phenomenal 91 per cent of points on her first serve.

Defending Caroline Wozniacki was in a similarly uncompromising mood as she saw off Christina McHale 6-4 6-0.

Wozniacki flew out of the blocks, winning five of the first seven games, only for McHale to check her progress by converting a fourth break point of the opener.

The former world number one responded emphatically, however, and McHale did not win another game.

More Kvitova misery for Mladenovic, Kenin and Riske fly the flag for the US

Petra Kvitova will face fellow seed and Venus Williams' conqueror Belinda Bencic after continuing her relentless record against Kristina Mladenovic.

Kvitova prevailed 6-4 6-4, taking her overall record against Mladenovic to 9-1, including three straight-sets victories this year.

"Against Kiki, I always have to play well because she can really play well, and she showed it in this match," Kvitova said. "I'm glad that I served pretty well and that it was a big weapon." 

Despite the punishing losses for McHale and Stephens, 15th seed Sofia Kenin and Alison Riske claimed some success for the United States contingent.

Riske was forced into a decider by Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic and came through 6-3 3-6 6-4.

Despite dropping serve with victory in sight at 5-3 in the third, Riske eventually saw off Tomljanovic in the next game – converting an eighth match point.

Kenin dropped her first two service games but regrouped to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3 6-2 and faces third seed Elina Svitolina in round three.

Two seeds going no further are Angelique Kerber and last week's Wuhan winner Aryna Sabalenka, who went down in straight sets to Polona Hercog and Daria Kasatkina respectively.

Caroline Garcia had to battle hard to halt a four-match losing streak while fellow seeds Sofia Kenin and Petra Martic also progressed at the Zhengzhou Open.

Garcia had not recorded a victory on the WTA Tour since beating Kristyna Pliskova in Jurmala in July. She lost to Chloe Paquet in the last 16 at that tournament before suffering opening defeats in Toronto and Cincinnati.

Having lost in straight sets to Ons Jabeur at the US Open, the French eighth seed was forced to work hard against Tereza Martincova in China.

Garcia eventually prevailed on her third match point, securing a 6-4 4-6 7-5 result after two hours and 35 minutes on court.

Kenin began her campaign with a 6-2 7-5 win over Paquet. The American, seeded six for a tournament serving as a Premier event on the Asian swing for the first time, came back from a break down in the second set to triumph.

As for Martic, she overcame Italian Jasmine Paolini 7-5 6-1 in a match that lasted 74 minutes.

The other first-round match to take place on Monday saw Yulia Putintseva prevail 6-1 5-7 6-1 against Tamara Zidansek in a repeat of this year's Nuremberg Cup final, which the former also won in three sets.

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