The semifinals of the Qatar Total Open were played on Friday with eighth seed Petra Kvitova and ninth seed Aryna Sabalenka emerging victorious to set up a final showdown on Saturday. The Czech is looking for her second Doha title while the Belarusian seeks her first.
Kvitova fights past Barty, Sabalenka sweeps past Kuznetsova
In a much anticipated clash, eighth seed Kvitova got the best of top seed and world number one Ashleigh Barty, with the Czech prevailing 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, her first win over the Aussie in their last five meetings.
There were three straight breaks to begin the match, the last of those going to Kvitova, who held saved a pair of break points in the eighth game and held on to take a one-set lead. Barty responded, twice breaking in the second set, including the final game to force a third set.
There were three straight breaks again in the middle of the deciding set, Kvitova once more claiming the advantage at 4-3 and she would close out the victory three games later to advance to Saturday's championship match.
Ninth seed Sabalenka is into her first final of 2020 after a straightforward 6-4, 6-3 victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova. Four consecutive breaks marked the opening set with the Russian saving a further break chance in the sixth game to level at 3-3.
Sabalenka broke to love to close out the first set and after saving a break point in the third game of the second set to go ahead 3-0, had won five games on the trot. Landing 73 percent of her first serves in, she closed out the match in the ninth game to set up a fourth career meeting with Kvitova.
Hsieh/Strycova complete Dubai/Doha double with three-set victory
In doubles action, top seeds Su-wei Hsieh and Barbora Strycova squared off with sixth seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Jelena Ostapenko with Hsieh/Strycova claiming a 6-2, 5-7, [10-2] victory and securing the Middle East double after their win in Dubai last week.
In what proved to be a streaky match, Hsieh and Strycova won nine games in a row to go from a 2-0 deficit to a 6-2, 3-0 lead. Winning five of the next six games, Dabrowski and Ostapenko, champions in 2018, surged to a 5-4 advantage.
The Latvian, who lost in singles to Kvitova in the third round, was broken, but an immediate rebreak gave them a second chance to force a match tiebreaker, which they did courtesy of Dabrowski. The top seeds cruised in the match tiebreaker, winning the first six points to eventually become the second team to win the Dubai/Doha double after Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond in 2012.