World no. 3 Karolina Pliskova will remain on one WTA title so far in 2020, losing to Elena Rybakina in the quarter-final of Dubai, staying on one final reached at this event in 2015. In the clash between two hard-hitting players, Elena took down the better-ranked opponent 7-6, 6-3 in an hour and 41 minutes, delivering her first top-5 victory and improving her 2020 score to 18-3.
The youngster wasn't among the favorites in the packed Dubai draw but that wasn't an obstacle for her, defeating the Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in the first round and now Pliskova to advance into the fourth semi-final from WTA tournaments played this season!
Rybakina blasted 11 aces and fended off nine out of ten break chances, coming from 4-2 down in the opening set to pull the break back straight away and clinch the tie break 7-1 to gain a massive boost ahead of set number two.
It produced many challenging and extended games, with Rybakina repelling all six break chances and scoring an early break to control the scoreboard and seal the deal in straight sets. Karolina praised her rival after the defeat, mentioning her booming serve but also other elements that have helped her to win so many matches in the opening two months of the season.
"Rybakina serves over 190kph and she's quite strong; I think the speed is always going to cause trouble," Pliskova said. "Still, she's not winning only because of the serve; you can't win that many matches with your initial shot alone.
Sometimes, when you're this confident, you don't even know what you're doing, and you don't think much; I think that's her case right now. Especially when you are young, pretty much all the matches she's playing well up to now; she's on a good run."