Barty breaks new ground in Kuala Lumpur, seeds crash out
Ashleigh Barty reached her first WTA semi-final by beating Zhang Kai-Lin in straight sets and both of the remaining seeds crashed out on another rain-affected day at the Malaysian Open.
Australian qualifier Barty will face Han Xinyun in the last four after a 6-0 7-6 (7-2) victory over Zhang in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.
The 20-year-old from Queensland blew a startled Zhang away in the first set and broke back in the second when her Chinese opponent was serving to level the match.
Barty, ranked 158th in the world, bossed the resulting tie-break to break new ground on the circuit.
Han was the underdog for her all-China quarter-final with Wang Qiang but came from a set down to win 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 6-4.
Wang fought from 4-1 down to level at 4-4 in the deciding set, but a seventh break of the match by Han sent the sixth seed packing.
Magda Linette saw off fifth seed Duan Ying-Ying 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-1 following a rain delay and will face Nao Hibino, who defeated Lesley Kerkhove in straight sets.