Tennis: Muguruza versus Kasatkina and Kerber clashes against Svitolina in the semifinals at the WTA Dubai Duty-Free Championships.

In the quarterfinals of the WTA Dubai Duty-Free Championships, the defending champion Elina Svitolina took out, the Japanese, Naomi Osaka to set up a semifinal clash against Angelique Kerber, who schooled Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-3 in her quarterfinal. In the lower half of the draw, the second-seeded Garbine Muguruza defeated Caroline Garcia in a 108 minutes battle to set up a semifinal against Daria Kasatkina, who overcame Elina Vesnina’s challenge in straight.


Garbine Muguruza versus Daria Kasatkina.

It was twice in as many weeks that Garbine Muguruza got the better of Caroline Garcia, whose aggressive style produced 42 unforced. If Caroline Garcia wishes to advance in rankings, she will need to practice controlled aggression on the court. Last week Muguruza had come back from a set down to beat the Frenchwoman in the quarterfinals of Doha. It was a more routine 7-5, 6-2, in 108 minutes, this time around. Garbine Muguruza will play Daria Kasatkina, who defeated countrywoman Elina Vesnina in straight sets in the quarter and Johana Konta, the seventh seed, in three in the round of sixteen. Daria Kasatkina and Garbine Muguruza have met twice with both those matches going to Garbine Muguruza. However, their last meeting on the hard courts in Brisbane was a close one with Garbine edging out Kasatkina (7-5) in the third set tie-break.

Outcome: Daria Kasatkina in three.


Angelique Kerber versus Elina Svitolina.

The defending champion and the top seed Elina Svitolina cruised 6-2, 6-4 through her quarterfinal against the wildcard Naomi Osaka. She will face Angelique Kerber, her first marquee opponent, in the semifinals. Svitolina will face Kerber, who made quick work of three quality opponents including the ace machine and third seed, Karolina Pliskova in the quarters, Sara Errani in the second and Barbra Strycova in the first round. Against Pliskova, Kerber was in top form and lost only eight points on her serve. She broke Karolina Pliskova in the third game of the first and the very first game of the second set and applied continuous pressure to avenge her defeat here in 2017. With this performance, Kerber registered her 15th win and third semi-final in 2018. Elina Svitolina leads 6-5 against Angelique Kerber, and she has defeated Kerber the last four times that they have played. However, we believe Kerber can win this semifinal to even their head-to-head 6-6 soon.

Outcome: Angelique Kerber in close three