Angelique Kerber booked a semi-final meeting with top seed Elina Svitona after defeating Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-3 at the WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Thursday.
In a battle between former world No 1s, Kerber was in control throughout the match. The 30-year-old German didn't face any break points, while consistently applying pressure on Pliskova's usually fearsome serve.
Kerber earned her first and only break of the first set in the third game before serving out the opener in just under 40 minutes. The two-time grand slam champion started the second set by breaking Pliskova to love before earning her second break in the final game of the match.
Kerber and Svitolina will face off for the 12th time for a place in the final on Friday, with Kerber looking to end a four-match losing streak against the defending Dubai champion from Ukraine.
Svitolina stays on course for title defence
Top seed Elina Svitolina kept alive her hopes of retaining the WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Naomi Osaka in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
Svitolina, the world No 3 from Ukraine, secured three successive breaks of serve to race into a 5-0 lead, and despite giving up one break, comfortably closed out the opening set.
However, Japanese No 1 Osaka came roaring back in the second set, breaking Svitolina to love before moving into a 4-1 lead. Svitolina responded emphatically, reeling off the next five games to clinch victory in one hour and 23 minutes.
Svitolina, who defeated now-world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the 2017 final, awaits the winner of the quarter-final between third seed Karolina Pliskova and No 6 seed Angelique Kerber.