World No. 1 Ash Barty put a stop to Garbine Muguruza in three sets 6-1, 6-7(4), 6-2 to reach the semifinals of Doha.
It was their third straight meeting that went the distance with Barty now holding a 2-1 lead over the Spaniard.
“I felt like I started exceptionally well and I was able to get the ball kind of in my areas a lot more,” said Barty. “Then in the second set Garbine was able to shift her court position and take a few more risks, put me on the back foot. It was frustrating, I felt like I wasn’t doing a lot wrong but I wasn’t making the most of my opportunities and wasn’t getting opportunities.
“So I think really happy to be able to start the third set well, I think particularly that first service game was going to be important in the third.”
The Australian will now clash with Petra Kvitova in the Friday semifinals. Kvitova edged the upset-minded Ons Jabeur in two breakers 7-6(2), 7-6(4). The Tunisian failed to serve out the second squandering two set points, and Kvitova took advantage.
“I’m glad how I was able to manage those tiebreaks for sure,” Kvitova said. “So I’m really glad that I improved something. It was difficult with the crowd as well, with the wind, different conditions today, for sure. So I’m really glad that with very talented player as she is, with the great touch, I was able to play a good game.”
Kvitova and Barty have split eight meetings but Barty has won the last four including the Australian Open quarters this year.
“I love playing Petra, I really do,” said Barty. “I feel like she has this way of bringing out the best in me, and no matter the result both of us have a smile on our face and that’s what I love about the contest with Petra is we respect each other, we play well and we just fight and we just see whoever’s better on the day will get the win and I’m expecting tomorrow to be no different.”
Kvitova won the Doha title in 2018.
Aryna Sabalenka came from a set down to defeat Saisai Zheng 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-3. She’ll now face Svetlana Kuznetsova who upended Belinda Bencic 6-4, 6-4.
The 34-year-old Kuznetsova is a 2-time Doha finalist.
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