Despite the impressive line-up of Thursday's quarterfinals in Dubai, the fans had a chance to witness just two out of 4 matches because of the withdrawals of both Czech players who managed to advance into the QFs.
The withdrawal of Karolina Pliskova, who was scheduled to play against Iga Swiatek in the QF was already known yesterday, as the former world's number one pulled out of the tournament due to the viral infection. As it occured today, also Karolina Muchova withdrew before her match against Jessica Pegula. Muchova, who assured herself to comeback into top 100 after the long injury severed last year, withdrew due to the abdominal issue.
Aryna Sabalenka was approaching the match against Barbora Krejcikova with a flawless record of 13 wins without any single loss in 2023. There was no sign of end of this series to come today, as the new Australian Open champion won the first set 6-0 in just 30 minutes, despite just 43% of first serve accuracy. Second set started also well for the Belarusian who was close to gain another break in second game, but managed to make he break advantage in 4th game, comfortably seating into the driver's seat to win the match. Krejcikova did not give up, moving back into level in another game. Both players were holding serves till the tiebreak, where Krejcikova made the early double mini-break advantage and forced the decider after winning it 7-2.
The Czech who gained another life after coming back from 0-6 and being a break down in second set, played the third set with a big confidence and faith in the victory against favorized opponent. She won five games in a row since the score 1-1, giving surprisingly no chance for the world's number two in a decider. It's one of the biggest comebacks of the year in WTA so far, as Krejcikova proves to be a threat for the top players in the field again. She will play against Pegula in tomorrow's semis.
Cori Gauff turned out to be superior in the all-American duel against Madison Keys. The 18 years-old started on the front foot, gaining the break in first game, and winning the opening set 6-2 after 28 minutes. Gauff started second set similarly well, moving into the break lead. Keys managed to level the score, but the younger American broke her to love in 11th game and sealed the win 6-2 7-5 after just 81 minutes. It was shockingly dirty match with a really low level from both players. Gauff managed to win despite scoring just 4 winners comparing to 31 unforced errors (!), while Keys finished the points with a winning shot 10 times comparing to 51 unforced errors on her side. Really unusual things to see on this level. Gauff will play against Swiatek in tomorrow's semifinal. It will be difficult challenge for the world's number 6, as Swiatek won all of their previous 5 matches in straight sets.