Rybarikova conquers Mladenovic in Zhuhai marathon

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Magdalena Rybarikova got the better of Kristina Mladenovic in a marathon WTA Elite Trophy match, while Anastasija Sevastova and Ashleigh Barty were also victorious in Zhuhai on Wednesday.

Mladenovic saved six match points, but 10th seed Rybarikova was not to be denied a 7-5 1-6 7-6 (7-5) win in the Azalea Group after losing to Julia Goerges on day one.

World number 10 Mladenovic will need to beat German Goerges in her second contest of the week to have any chance of reaching the semi-finals.

Rybarikova won the previous meeting between the two at the French Open in 2009 and Mladenovic was unable to finally gain revenge eight years later, both players claiming three breaks in the final set before the Slovakian eventually came out on top in a tie-break.

Sevastova, meanwhile, needed just the two sets to defeat US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the first match in the Camellia Group.

The fifth seed from Latvia won 7-5 6-3 against the American, who beat her in the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows in September.

Stephens has lost all three matches she has played since claiming her maiden grand slam title on home soil.

Ninth seed Ashleigh Barty leads the way in the Rose Group following a 6-4 6-1 success over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

The Australian will be through to the last four if she sees off former world number one Angelique Kerber on Thursday.