WUHAN, China - No.16 seed Ashleigh Barty returned to the final four at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open on Thursday with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 win over Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

The lone seeded player among the eight quarterfinalists, the 2017 Wuhan runner-up came from a break down in the decider to reach the semifinals at the Premier 5 event for the second straight year.

"It's just nice to be able to back up a result from last year. It's obviously always in the back of your mind, worrying -- not worrying about, but knowing you've played here well before gives you that extra confidence to come out and play freely," Barty said after the match.

"I've been able to do that in my last couple of matches a little bit better, and I'm certainly happy to be in another semifinal."

After being two points away from victory in the second set, the World No.17 won four of the last five games to slip by the Russian and score her second career win. 

Despite winning nearly 20 more points over the course of the match (100 to 84), the result of her fifth career match against the Russian hung in the balance for Barty over the course of two hours and four minutes.

Each player earned eight break points in the match overall, but Barty broke Pavlyuchenkova five times while losing her own three times. 

Though she was out-winnered by Pavlyuchenkova by a 30-20 margin in the match, the Aussie also made less than half the amount of unforced errors as her opponent - 21 to 44 - to help battle her way to victory.

One lengthy game in the opener helped Barty assert herself in the opener, as she held serve in a five-deuce third game and saved two break points.

From there, the No.16 seed won four of the next five games - winning the quartet in succession from 2-2 - in just over 30 minutes to move ahead.

Seeking her second career win against the Russian on Chinese soil, having defeated her at last year's WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai, Barty looked on course for a straight-sets victory as she rallied from a break down in the second set and moved one game away from victory. 

Nonetheless, the Russian's increased aggression helped her power into a decider for the second straight match, as she looked to score a second win in Wuhan from a set down after defeating two-time champion Petra Kvitova in the third round.

"I think I had opportunities the second set. I just let them slip," Barty said. "It was nice to be able to take a couple of my opportunities in the third. Certainly would have been nicer to get it done in straights today.

"She came up with a few different tactics that I didn't think she would. We have to adjust a little bit. I'm certainly happy with the way I was able to look after most of my service games, then try to dig my way as best I could into hers."

After four games went with serve to begin the final set, it was the Russian who drew first blood with the first break of serve in the fifth game.

However, Barty held her nerve as she faced the deficit, and it was her variety which topped Pavlyuchenkova's baseline aggression to move into her second Premier 5 quarterfinal of the season.

"That's where I find my fun in tennis, is when I go out there, play freely, be creative. I think every single person and every player has a unique game. Yes, there are some similarities. Everybody is unique, has different preferences, things like that," Barty said.

"For me, I play my best when I'm out there having fun and trying to be as creative as possible."