World number 17 Barty, last year’s runner-up in Wuhan, beat the reigning Wimbledon champion 7-5, 6-1 to break a seven-match losing streak against the world’s top 10 players, reports Efe news.
The Australian started the match strongly, racing into a 5-2 first set lead.
Kerber managed to level the set at five games apiece, before Barty reimposed herself on proceedings, winning eight of the last nine games to close out the second set and the match.
“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 later.
Kerber’s elimination follows world number one Simona Halep’s defeat on Tuesday night against Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia and fourth seed Caroline Garcia’s loss to Katerina Siniakova.
Barty moves on to the quarter-finals, where she will face either the Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova or Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.