Qatar Open: Top seeds Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova eliminated in straight sets quarter-final defeats

The Associated Press
·1-min read

Doha: The top two seeded players at the Qatar Open were eliminated in the quarter-finals as Victoria Azarenka played through pain to win against Elina Svitolina and Jessica Pegula defeated Karolina Pliskova on Thursday.

Azarenka held off a late comeback from top-seeded Svitolina, her doubles partner this week, to seal a 6-2, 6-4 win on her third match point.

Azarenka managed an apparent lower back problem with stretches and help from a physiotherapist.

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"In the warmup, I just felt a very sharp pain and I was very worried," she said. "I tried my best. I really tried to just focus on what I could do and not think about anything else."

The Belarusian will play Garbine Muguruza or Maria Sakkari in the semi-finals.

Pegula continued her blistering start to 2021 by beating second-seeded Pliskova 6-3, 6-1, breaking the big-hitting Czech player's serve five times.

That took Pegula to a 12-3 record this year, including qualifying matches, in a run that has already lifted the US player into the top 50 for the first time after reaching the Australian Open quarter-finals.

Her reward for beating Pliskova is a semi-final against fourth-seeded Petra Kvitova, who ousted Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in a match with 16 breaks of serve. "It was a kind of a rollercoaster," Kvitova said.

Also See: Qatar Open: Former champions Karolina Pliskova, Petra Kvitova, Victoria Azarenka through to quarters

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