Abu Dhabi WTA Women's Tennis Open Day 6 updates: Sofia Kenin and Elina Svitolina in quarter-final action
Reports and reaction from the last eight at Zayed Sports City International Tennis Centre
Svitolina loses nail-biter
Elina Svitolina lost a tense clash against Russia's Veronika Kudermetova to join exit the Abu Dhabi WTA Women's Tennis Open at the quarter-final stage.
The Ukrainian's 5-7, 3-6, 6-7 defeat means the tournament's top two seeds both lost on Monday following top seed Sofia Kenin's earlier loss to Maria Sakkari.
After going entirely with serve, Svitolina grabbed the first set when she converted her third break point of the 12th game. The world No 5 edged ahead in the second set with an immediate break but Kudermetova fought back to level at 1-1.
The Russian seized the advantage in the second set by moving into a 4-2 lead before serving out the set to force the decider.
The final set was settled in a tie-break but not before Kudermetova had the chance to serve for the match having broken Svitolina's serve for a 6-5 lead. The Ukrainian applied the pressure to break straight back to force a second final set tie-break in as many matches.
However, it was Kudermetova who controlled the tie-break and she completed her victory with a superb winner that caught the edge of the line.
The world No 46 will play Svitolina's compatriot Marta Kostyuk in Tuesday's semi-final.
Sakkari rallies to thrash Kenin
Sofia Kenin was eliminated from the Abu Dhabi WTA Women's Tennis Open quarter-finals on Monday after Maria Sakkari rallied from a first set deficit to thrash the top seed 2-6, 6-2, 6-0.
Kenin, 22, looked in complete control after racing through the first set, the American's superb defence and consistent groundstrokes not allowing the Greek ninth seed to settle.
However at 2-2 in the second set, Sakkari found her rhythm and range and proceeded to blow away the Australian Open champion, winning the next 10 games to set up a semi-final showdown with fourth seed Aryna Sabalenka.
Kostyuk reaches first semi-final
Marta Kostyuk bounced back from a first set bagel to defeat Sara Sorribes Tormo 0-6, 6-1, 6-3 to reach her first ever WTA semi-final at the Abu Dhabi WTA Women's Tennis Open.
The 18-year-old Ukrainian was overwhelmed in the first set as her Spanish opponent picked off her serve at will.
However, Kostyuk produced a remarkable turnaround after getting broken again in the first game of the second set as the world No 99 won six straight games to level the match.
A failure to hold serve was a common theme in the deciding set as the first six games went with the returner, and after both players held for the first time, Kostyuk grabbed the all-important breakthrough before serving out the match.
The teenager will take on either compatriot Elina Svitolina or Russia's Veronika Kudermetova in the semi-finals.
Sabalenka battles past Rybakina
Fourth seed Aryna Sabalenka was the first player to book her place in the Abu Dhabi WTA Women's Tennis Open on Monday after a high-quality 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win over Elena Rybakina.
As expected between two of the WTA Tour's most powerful and attacking players, much of the first set stayed on serve with neither able to even fashion a break point opportunity.
That was until the 11th game as Rybakina served to keep the set alive. The Kazakh faltered to slip to 0-40 and Sabalenka converted her first set point to take the opener.
Sixth seed Rybakina immediately regrouped to break Sabalenka in the first game of the second set and doubled her advantage to lead 4-1. The Belarusian reduced the deficit in the very next game and came through a nervy hold of serve to make it 4-3.
After both players then held serve, it was left to Rybakina to serve out the set and she levelled after Sabalenka sent a forehand long.
Much like how Rybakina shrugged off losing the first set to roar back in the second, Sabalenka offered a similarly quick response in the decider by breaking for a 2-0 lead.
That proved the only break of the third set as the world No 10 sealed her 13th successive win with a powerful unreturnable serve after one hour and 58 minutes.
Sabalenka, 22, will face either American top seed Sofia Kenin or Greek ninth seed Maria Sakkari for a place in the final.
Monday's order of play
Starting at 10am:
Aryna Sabalenka (4) bt Elena Rybakina (6) - 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
Maria Sakkari (9) bt Sofia Kenin (1) - 2-6, 6-2, 6-0
Marta Kostyuk bt Sara Sorribes Tormo - 0-6, 6-1, 6-4
Veronika Kudermetova v Elina Svitolina (2)
Updated: January 11, 2021 07:23 PM