The 2021 Qatar Total Open semifinals will feature three Grand Slam champions, who have won a total of six major titles between them, and a qualifier who is enjoying the best period of her career including a strong run at the Australian Open.
Petra Kvitova‘s 6-3 3-6 6-2 victory over Anett Kontaveit in the first quarterfinal on Thursday was the most competitive match of the day. It featured 16 breaks of serve and both players finished with positive winners-to-unforced-errors differentials.
The fourth-seeded Kvitova dominated the first set, but lost the second set as Kontaveit’s tricky angles led her into errors. After leveling, Kontaveit never held serve and the 2018 Doha champion won the decider which was more difficult than the score suggests.
Qualifier Jessica Pegula is building on her Australian Open quarterfinal run with her first ever WTA 500 semifinal appearance. The American crushed second seed Karolina Pliskova 6-3 6-1.
The former world No.1 Pliskova, champion here in 2017, had been on the court past midnight the previous day to win a lengthy three-setter against Ons Jabeur. Pliskova’s tiredness could have played a role in the defeat, but the world No.44 Pegula was undeniably dominant with her composure and construction of points.
Eighth seed Victoria Azarenka played through pain to beat top seed Elina Svitolina 6-2 6-4, her doubles partner this week.
During warm-up, the two-time Doha champion Azarenka felt a very sharp pain in her lower back and the health issue severely affected her movement throughout the match.
The experienced Belarusian fought like a warrior and benefited from her opponent’s passive game filled with errors. Azarenka is now through to her 60th career semifinal!
In Thursday’s last quarterfinal, Garbine Muguruza avenged her straight-sets loss to Maria Sakkari earlier this year in Abu Dhabi with a surprisingly easy 6-3 6-1 win over the Greek.
The semifinal between Petra Kvitova and Jessica Pegula is the first on Friday’s schedule, followed by Victoria Azarenka vs. Garbine Muguruza.