WUHAN, China - 2017 runner-up Ashleigh Barty returned to the quarterfinals at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open on Wednesday with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber.

The Aussie finished runner-up to Caroline Garcia in last year's championship match, but the No.16 seed was not to be bundled from the tournament in the way that Garcia was earlier on Wuhan's Centre Court.

Read more: Siniakova sinks defending champ Garcia in Wuhan marathon

Barty scored her first victory over a Top 10 player in exactly a year, snapping a seven-match losing streak against the world's elite.

She upset three Top 10 players to reach the final in Wuhan last season, ousting Johanna Konta, Karolina Pliskova and Jelena Ostapenko en route to the championship match at the Optics Valley International Tennis Center one year ago.

From 5-2 up in the opener, Barty held on to win the set after the Wimbledon champion leveled proceedings at 5-5, and won eight of the last nine games of the match to book a spot in the last eight for the second consecutive year.

"She's always very difficult to play against. She's one of the best players in the world, and you have to come out here, enjoy and have fun, and try and play as well as you can," Barty said on-court after the match.

"[I played] very well here last year, and it was an amazing week with some amazing memories. “It’s nice to be back on this beautiful center court, playing some good tennis and getting further and further into the tournament."

The Aussie marched out to an early lead in the match, as she was the first to break serve and led 3-0 at the first official changeover. 

Kerber saved a break point which would've seen her trail 5-1 in the sixth game, and her comeback to parity began three games later as she broke the No.16 seed for the first time in the match from 3-0 down as she served for a one-set lead.

Though both players accumulated nearly 20 unforced errors in a tight opening set - as Barty totaled 19 to Kerber's 16 - it was the Aussie's 13 winners which fared better in a ratio than the German's nine. 

After being unable to convert two more break points on return in a key 11th game, it was Kerber's serve which also faltered in a key moment of the opener. 

The World No.3 recorded two of her five double faults in the first set in its final game - including one on set point. 

Three tight games all went the 22-year-old's way to begin the second set, as she saved a break point which would've given Kerber her first lead of the match in the first game, and later erased another to build a 3-0 edge.

Barty's advantage swelled to 5-0 from there, as she won eight of the next 10 points, and later wrapped up her second career victory against the German on Chinese soil in one hour and 17 minutes.

Up next, Barty will face either No.5 seed and two-time Wuhan champion Petra Kvitova or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for a spot in the semifinals.