The 31-year-old Angelique Kerber has had a mediocre start of 2019 campaign so far, losing the semi-final in Doha last week but not repeating that at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, losing to Su-Wei Hsieh 5-7, 6-4, 6-0 in an hour and 44 minutes.
The German won their previous two meetings in 2013 and 2018 and she wasn't far from the finish line again today, leading 7-5, 4-4 before losing the last eight games of the match after a complete collapse! Hsieh did lose serve four times but erased that deficit with a stellar performance on the return, stealing almost half of the return points and breaking Kerber seven times from 14 opportunities.
Angelique was 4-2 up in the opening set before losing three games in a row, staying in contention with a hold at love in game ten and breaking Hsieh with a backhand return winner in game 11 before closing the set with a service winner for a 7-5.
They traded breaks in games six and seven in set number two and this time it was Su-Wei who had the upper hand when it mattered the most, breaking in game ten with a deep return and building the momentum before the deciding set where she was the only player on the court.
Kerber's game fell apart and she suffered a break in game two after a routine forehand error, finding herself 4-0 down thanks to some stunning defense from Hsieh who crossed the finish line with a backhand winner in game six to move into the last eight where she will face Karolina Plsikova.
The 4th seed needed two hours and four minutes to secure a 7-6, 7-6 triumph over Alison Riske, defeating the American for the sixth time in seven matches on the Tour. As a result suggests, it was a great battle from start to finish, with two breaks on each side and four points more on Pliskova's tally after she won the very last point.
Alison was there to fight, facing no break points in the opening set and getting a chance to move ahead in game seven when she created a rare break point. Pliskova saved it when her rival missed a backhand and she claimed the tie break 7-3 after 49 minutes following another backhand error from Alison.
The second set offered the identical scoreboard but in a completely different way, with 17 break points up for grabs! They traded breaks in games four and five and Pliskova fended off two set points at 4-5, bringing the game home after seven deuces before two breaks at love on each side for another tie break that Pliskova won 7-5 after a double fault from Riske.
Facing each other for the fifth time, Carla Suarez Navarro defeated Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 7-5 in an hour and 53 minutes, just a day after the French girl ousted the world no. 1 Naomi Osaka. In the match with no less than 26 break points and no aces, both Carla and Kristina won around 50% of the return points and it was the Spaniard who played on a higher level in the crucial moments, losing serve five times and scoring seven breaks for the place in the quarters.
Kristina was 5-1 up in the opener and she squandered no less than six set points in the next three games, losing six straight games to hand the set to Suarez Navarro. They broke each other six times in the opening eight games to stay on the level terms until 5-5 when the Spaniard grabbed another break, sealing the deal with a hold in game 12 to advance into the last eight.