Svitolina remains on course
Elina Svitolina moved a step closer to defending her Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title with a convincing 6-2 6-4 success over Naomi Osaka in the quarter-finals
The Ukrainian had lost two of her three previous meetings with her Japanese opponent, and she was grateful to make a strong start. She took the opener convincingly but was forced to battle back from 4-2 in the second set to avoid a decider.
“I'm happy the way I've been handling the pressure and tough moments," explained the world no.4, who is bidding for an 11th career-title this week.
"I have had two good matches. I cannot say I’ve played amazing tennis, but when I’ve needed to, I’ve stepped up and played well."
Angelique Kerber will take on Svitolina in the semi-finals on Friday. The former world No.1 continues to impress and she did not face a break-point as she swept Karolina Pliskova aside 6-4 6-3.
Kerber and Svitolina are familiar foes, and have met 11 times. The Ukrainian holds a slender 6-5 advantage in the head to head count, and she also triumphed when they faced-off in Dubai last year.
Garbine Muguruza registered her second victory over Caroline Garcia within the last seven days. The Frenchwoman pushed the Spaniard to three sets in Doha last Friday, but was unable stay with her higher-ranked opponent this time.
The Wimbledon champion was 7-5 6-2 winner over Garcia. The Frenchwoman lost the majority of extended rallies, and her game was littered with unforced-errors.
“I’m very pleased,” said Muguruza post-match. “It’s always tough to play the same opponent and I’m happy that I won again. We played three sets in Doha, but this time I won it in two sets.”
The Spaniard will challenge Daria Kasatkina in the semi-finals.The 20-year-old Russian got the better of her mentor Elena Vesnina 7-6(5) 6-1.