Former Aussie number one Sam Stosur battled hard but narrowly lost her first WTA final since 2017 against Sofia Kenin, 7-6, 4-6, 2-6.
Stosur, who was once again given a wildcard to compete in the tournament, beat Nina Stojanovic and Vikotorija Golubic on her way to an unlikely finals appearance in China.
But despite taking out the first set with a commanding tie-break performance, couldn't match the grit and stamina of the US world number 20, who traded breaks of serves in an even second set before eventually easily clinching the third.
Stosur, who won the 2011 US Open, has dropped significantly in the WTA rankings since 2017, with persistent shoulder injuries a major concern for the 35-year-old.
After poor singles showings in tournaments leading up to the US Open, Stosur's wildcard entry was seen by some as evidence that the world number 103 may be playing her final season.
But while singles has proven a tough slog for the former world number four, Stosur's doubles form has continued to be intimidating, reaching the semi-finals of the US Open's mixed-doubles with American counterpart Rajeev Ram.
That form finally continued over to Stosur's singles in Guangzhou, where an early exit as the doubles' number one seeds alongside Zhang Shuai helped pave the way for a reinvigorated run to the final in the singles draw.