World number one and Australian Open champion Ashleigh Barty set up a ninth career meeting with two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova at the Qatar Open on Thursday. Barty saw off Spain’s Garbine Muguruza 6-1, 6-7 (4/7), 6-2 in her quarter-final in windy and chilly conditions in Doha. “I felt like I started exceptionally well and I was able to get the ball kind of in my areas a lot more,” said the Australian top seed.
“Then in the second set Garbine was able to shift her court position and take a few more risks, put me on the back foot. It was frustrating, I felt like I wasn’t doing a lot wrong but I wasn’t making the most of my opportunities and wasn’t getting opportunities.
“So I was happy to be able to start the third set well.”
Barty has won her last three meetings with Kvitova, including the quarter-finals of the Australian Open last month.
Kvitova, the 2018 Qatar champion, trailed Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur by a break in the second set and saved two set points before securing a gruelling 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/4) win after one hour and 44 minutes.
“I’m glad how I was able to manage those tie-breaks for sure,” said the Czech left-hander.
“So I’m really glad that I improved something. It was difficult with the crowd as well, with the wind, different conditions today, for sure. So I’m really glad that with very talented player as she is, with the great touch, I was able to play a good game.”
In the other semi-final, evergreen Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova will face Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.
Two-time major winner Kuznetsova beat Swiss fourth seed Belinda Bencic 6-4, 6-4 while ninth-seeded Sabalenka came from behind to knock out China’s Zheng Saisai 3-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-3.