Dubai PHOTOS: Rybakina, Brady, Martic, Halep seal semifinal berths

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Semifinals are set at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, as Elena Rybakina, Jennifer Brady, Petra Martic and Simona Halep won their quarterfinal matches on Thursday.

The first to advance was red hot Elena Rybakina, who recorded her first Top 5 victory by upsetting second seed Karolina Pliskova 7-6(1) 6-3 to reach her fourth semifinal in five tournaments so far this season. The unseeded Kazakh, debutante in Dubai, recovered from 4-2 down in the first set and saved 6/6 break points in the second set. The most interesting statistical fact is that Rybakina hit 11 aces in the encounter, while the Ace Queen recorded just three.

The world No.19 Rybakina’s next opponent will be eighth seed Petra Martic, who saved a set point in the first set against Anett Kontaveit before cruising through the second to win 7-6(4) 6-1. Before this week, the 15th-ranked Martic hadn’t won back-to-back matches this season and prior to this year has never won a main draw match at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

American qualifier Jennifer Brady eliminated three Top 20 players in a row, the latest victim being ninth seed and Australian Open finalist Garbine Muguruza. The resurgent two-time Grand Slam champion Muguruza battled back from 2-5 to take the opening set to a tiebreak, but after winning it, midway through the second set her level dropped and Brady was too strong on crucial points in the decider, 6-7(5) 6-3 6-4.

In her first Premier-level semifinal, the world No.52 Brady will play top seed Simona Halep, as the Romanian downed seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka 3-6 6-2 6-2 after coming back from a set down for the second consecutive match.

Today we have photos only from the first two quarterfinals, as our Jimmie48 is already heading to Doha to cover the Qatar Total Open.

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