Aryna Sabalenka brought down curtains on Elise Mertens’ campaign at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday. The Belarusian seventh seed won their second-round match 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 30 minutes. Although Sabalenka and Mertens are doubles partners, their singles meeting was no less fierce on account of them playing doubles together.
After the match, Sabalenka acknowledged that despite the match ending in straight sets, it was far from easy. “It was a tough match and [Mertens is] a great player. I knew it was going to be tough, and I was just trying to focus on each point and not think about anything else”.
Sabalenka will take on the top-seed Simona Halep for a place in the semi-finals on Thursday. The world no. 2 saved a match point en route to her three-set win over Ons Jabeur in the second round on Wednesday. Garbine Muguruza marched onward into the Dubai quarters with a three-set victory against Veronika Kudermetova.
The ninth seed needed two hours and 25 minutes to claim a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 win. She will play Jennifer Brady who won against Marketa Vondrousova, in another three-set battle 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in two hours and four minutes. In the latter half of the draw, eighth seed Petra Martic and Anett Kontaveit will play each other for a semi-final spot.
Martic won against Barbora Strycova 6-3, 6-3 in their round-of-16 match while Kontaveit got past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-6(5), 7-5. Elena Rybakina who re-started her merry winning ways after a minor setback in the St. Petersburg final last week, also reached the last-eight.
The Kazakh defeated Katerina Siniakova 6-3, 6-3 to set another Czech showdown, this time against Karolina Pliskova. The second seed, meanwhile, dropped just three games against Kristina Mladenovic, in making her way to the quarter-finals. Photo Credit: Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Twitter