No.9 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece stormed back from a set down to eliminate No.1 seed Sofia Kenin of the United States, 2-6, 6-2, 6-0, and clinch a semifinal spot at the Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Tennis Open.
It was World No.4 Kenin who had won their two previous encounters, which were three-set thrillers in the first round of 2018 Wimbledon and the second round of the 2018 US Open.
This time, though, Sakkari charged back from the loss of a quick first set to dominate the final two frames, winning the final 10 games, and collect the win after 83 minutes of play.
World No.22 Sakkari thus claims the fifth Top 5 win of her career, and her second in her last three tournaments. She most recently claimed a win over a Top 5 player by upsetting Elina Svitolina at Ostrava in October.
Sakkari will now face No.4 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in the final four, after Sabalenka outlasted No.6 seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan in Monday’s first quarterfinal.
Sabalenka has defeated Sakkari in three of their four meetings, including twice in the Middle East last season, at both Doha and Dubai.