Dubai: Thursdaythrows up several engrossing matches after Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit completed the singles quarter-final line-up with a 7-6 (5), 7-5 win over big-serving Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open, late on Wednesday.
With two earlier matches going to three sets, it was Australian Open quarter-finalist Kontaveit matching her better-built opponent to send the first set into a tie-breaker that the Estonian went on to win 7-5. In the second, Pavlyuchenkova went clear in the eighth, but Kontaveit hit right back with a couple of successive breaks to serve out for set and match to set up a first Dubai quarter-final against eighth seed Petra Martic of Croatia.
Earlier, top seed and former world number one Simona Halep dug herself out for a well-contested 1-6, 6-2, 7-6 win over the Arab region’s best player Ons Jabeur of Tunisia. The top seed will now meet seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka in today’s quarter-final.
American Jennifer Brady became the only surviving qualifier with a three-set 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over 2019 French Open quarter-finalist Marketa Vondrousova to set up an engrossing battle against 2020 Australian Open runner-up and two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza.
In the lower half of the draw, second seed Karolina Pliskova was in a hurry sealing off a hasty 6-1, 6-2 win against qualifier Kristina Mladenovic to set up a meeting with exciting Kazakh youngster Elena Rybakina – a 6-3, 6-3 winner over qualifier Katerina Siniakova.
Order of play for Thursday
Singles Quarter-Finals: Centre Court (2 pm) Elena Rybakina vs Karolina Pliskova; (3.30 pm) Jennifer Brady vs Garbine Muguruza. (7 pm) Petra Martic vs Anett Kontaveit; Simona Halep vs Aryna Sabalenka.
Doubles Quarter-Finals: Court No.1 (2 pm) Hayley Carter/Luisa Stefani vs Desirae Krawczyk/Alison Riske; Barbora Krejcikova/Saisai Zheng vs Nicole Melichar/Yifan Xu; Gabriela Dabrowski/Shuai Zhang vs Lyudmyla Duan/Veronika Kudermetova; Su-Wei Hsieh/Barbora Strycova vs Sofia Kenin/Bethanie Mattek-Sands.