"She's always hard to play against. She's a great player", Sabalenka said. "I adjusted my position and tried to be more offensive and less passive".
Australian Open champion Wozniacki, who received a first-round bye, was barely troubled by the 61st-ranked Swede Rebecca Peterson, winning 6-4, 6-1 to set up a third-round clash with Olympic champion Monica Puig, who romped past Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 6-2.
From 5-2 up in the opener, Barty survived a spirited fightback from Kerber and won eight of the last nine games to seal a straight-sets victory. She will next face Anett Kontaveit, who beat Katerina Siniakova 6-4, 6-4.
Both players will be bidding for their second career title; previously, Kontaveit lifted the trophy in 's-Hertogenbosch a year ago, while Sabalenka was New Haven champion this August.
The world No. 51-ranked Puig has had her best runs from qualifying.
The second stanza followed a similar narrative to the first as Wozniacki surged into a 3-0 lead before Puig kicked back into action and stormed home to take the set 7-5 and book a quarterfinal meeting with Wang Qiang.
Ashleigh Barty is having a strong week in Wuhan.
"I feel like the difference is who's going to take their opportunities and their chances, who's going to make or miss the shots".
World number three Kerber has already qualified for next month's Finals which will be held in Singapore and advanced after a knee injury forced her American opponent Madison Keys to retire.
It would give the Australian No.1, who made the final in Wuhan past year, a $697,000 winner's cheque and 900 ranking points, which would take her to a career-best ranking of No.15, leaping over Serena Williams on the list.
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