Dubai Tennis: Karolina Pliskova beats Anhelina Kalinina to enter quarter-finals

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DUBAI: Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic on Wednesday produced a stunning performance to advance into the quarter-finals of the ongoing Dubai Tennis Championships with a win over Anhelina Kalinina 7-5, 6-7(6), 6-2 here in Dubai.

The result puts the Czech Republic in the final eight in Dubai for the fifth time in a row, and the first time since 2020. She hasn’t advanced past the quarterfinals since finishing second to Simona Halep in 2015.

The first two sets were closely fought and nearly identical. Pliskova upped her game at the end of each set to break for 6-5, comfortably serving out the first. However, in the second set, Kalinina saved two match points, the second with a daring drop shot, forcing a decider.

Pliskova, who had needed three hours and three minutes to upset No.10 seed Veronika Kudermetova in the first round, recovered to take a firm grip on the decider. With a pinpoint backhand winner down the line, the former World No.1 converted her third match point.

Pliskova finished with a break point conversion rate of 100%, having converted all four of her chances. Kalinina, on the other hand, only converted one of her four chances. Pliskova also had 45 winners to Kalinina’s 43, including 13 aces.

Meanwhile, Americans Coco Gauff and Madison Keys will lock horns in the quarter-finals in Dubai. No.5 seed Gauff advanced to that round after No.9 seed Elena Rybakina withdrew from their scheduled Round of 16 match due to a lower back injury.

No. 23 in the world Keys advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over No.15 seed Victoria Azarenka. Keys needed only 57 minutes to defeat Azarenka for the first time in their five career meetings.

Despite keeping points short with solid forehand winners, Azarenka’s movement was visibly hampered throughout the match. But Keys took control, breaking for 4-2 on break point with a backhand pass, two return winners, and an Azarenka double fault.

Azarenka double-faulted again on Keys’ second set point, giving the American a one-set lead. Keys raced out to a 5-0 lead in the second set, and she won two games later without facing a break point all day.

Keys and Gauff’s previous meetings were split. Keys won 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 in Adelaide last year, but Gauff levelled the score in the third round of the 2022 US Open with a 6-2, 6-3 victories. (ANI)

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