Swiatek eases into Qatar Open last eight as Osaka gets walkover

tennis14 February 2024 19:34| © AFP
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Iga Swiatek © Getty Images

World No 1 Iga Swiatek reached the Qatar Open quarterfinals for a third successive year on Wednesday as fellow four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka also made the last eight without hitting a ball.

Swiatek, the two-time defending champion at the Gulf event, defeated 14th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-1, 6-4.

The Russian battled bravely, saving four match points in the 10th game of the second set before Swiatek came through.

The 22-year-old Pole will face either Jelena Ostapenko or former world No 1 Victoria Azarenka for a place in the semifinals.

Swiatek now has a 11-1 record in Doha, with her lone loss at the tournament coming to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the 2020 second round.

Osaka advanced earlier on Wednesday after Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko, who beat fourth seed Ons Jabeur in round two, pulled out with an elbow injury.

Osaka will meet another former world No 1, Karolina Pliskova, for a place in the last four as the Japanese star continues her comeback from maternity leave.

The 26-year-old is through to her first WTA quarterfinal since reaching the Miami Open final almost two years ago.

Pliskova, who won her first title in four years in Romania last week, fought back from the brink of defeat to overcome Czech teenager Linda Noskova 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.

Noskova served for the match up 5-4 in the second set before the wheels came off against two-time Grand Slam finalist Pliskova.

Leylah Fernandez knocked out Australian Open runner-up Zheng Qinwen 7-5, 6-3.

Chinese fifth seed Zheng let slip a strong position in the opening set where she led 5-3, as Fernandez broke twice in a row and reeled off the final four games.

Fernandez then punished a loose service game from Zheng in the sixth game of the second set before closing out an impressive victory.

"I'm extremely pumped up, I'm super happy with my level. There's still a lot of work to do, but so far so good, so we're just going to keep going," said Fernandez.

World number 38 Fernandez, a former US Open finalist, goes on to meet third seed Elena Rybakina for a spot in the semifinals.

Rybakina withstood a spirited fightback from 16th-seeded American Emma Navarro, winning 6-1, 6-7 (6/8), 6-4.

The Kazakh had a match point in the second set tie-break but the in-form Navarro, this year's Hobart champion, forced a deciding set.

Rybakina broke for a 3-2 lead and saved two break points in the final game to seal the win.

"It was such a difficult match," said Rybakina. "I had some opportunities in the second set but she played really well and for me physically it was a little bit more difficult. It was tough."

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova also progressed to the last eight with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova.

Katerina Siniakova, who took out Coco Gauff in the second round, could not build on Tuesday's success as the Czech lost in straight sets to Danielle Collins.


Iga Swiatek (POL x1) bt Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS x14) 6-1, 6-4

Naomi Osaka (JPN) bt Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) - walkover

Karolina Pliskova (CZE) bt Linda Noskova (CZE) 3-6, 7-5, 6-1

Leylah Fernandez (CAN) bt Zheng Qinwen (CHN x5) 7-5, 6-3

Elena Rybakina (KAZ x3) bt Emma Navarro (USA x16) 6-1, 6-7 (6/8), 6-4

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) bt Marketa Vondrousova (CZE x6) 7-5, 6-3

Danielle Collins (USA) bt Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 6-4, 6-3