Beatriz Haddad Maia shines again in WTA 500 Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open after another stunning win, eliminating Elena Rybakina in three sets and advancing into semifinals. The Wimbledon champion and Australian Open runner-up was a huge pre-match favorite with an average odd 1.25. A strong argument in favor of Rybakina was an extremely long-match between Haddad Maia and Yulia Putintseva, which lasted till the late evening hours yesterday and no much time for her opponent to get a rest.
The match started as expected with a strong 6-3 first set win for Rybakina who faced just one breakpoint and was clearly outhitting her opponent. Second set was also expected to be an easy road to the semifinal for the Kazakh, who had breakpoint chance in the opening game. Then, the Brazilian started matching her opponent and gained an surprising break advantage in 6th game, which she didn't blow away till the end of a set. The decider was a stunning performance from Haddad Maia, who started with a break, and gave just no chance for Rybakina to make up the gap, extending her lead to two breaks in 7th game and winning whole the match 3-6 6-3 6-2. Huge win for Haddad Maia and big upset for Rybakina, who was looking as a serious title contender considering all her play in Abu Dhabi till the momentum switch in second set. The Brazilian showed a great spirit and endurance, not staying behind in terms of fitness despite yesterday's 3:15 hours marathon against Putintseva and turning the fates of the match against a huge favorite despite being a set down.
Belinda Bencic is next for Haddad Maia, as the Swiss earns 9th straight set wins out of all her 12 matches in 2023 season, this time defeating Shelby Rogers 7-6 6-2. Bencic needed to work out for the win in opening set, where the American was the only one to produce any breakpoints in 4th game. Bencic saved all of them and clinched the set in tiebreak, despite being down a mini-break twice.
The top seed - Daria Kasatkina is already out after being blew out of the court by Qinwen Zheng. 20 years-old Chinese noted the flawless start of the match winning 5 games in a row and clinching the first set 6-1. Kasatkina who started her previous match against Jil Teichmann simillary slow was hoping for a comeback, but it has not happened, as Zheng started second set with another dominant performance, running away with a double break from the start and reaching out the semifinal giving away just 3 games for the world's top 10 player.