Elena Rybakina and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova advance to Qatar TotalEnergies Open semifinals

Rybakina defeated Leylah Fernandez and Pavlyuchenkova took out Danielle Collins in the quarterfinals

Clive Brunskill/GettyImages
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The first two quarterfinal matches were straight set affairs, but that does not mean they were easy wins for either player. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova defeated Danielle Collins for the first time in her career (in their fourth meeting) in the first Doha quarterfinal match of the day. Elena Rybakina overcame a slow start to take out Leylah Fernandez in their first-ever meeting in the second match.

The Pavyluchenkova and Collins match was a hard-hitting affair. Both players were playing aggressively, but Pavyluchenkova was the most accurate of the two. The wind and the net played minor roles in Collins's undoing. There were numerous points that hit the tape of the net that seemed to go against Collins. Pavyluchenkova's savvy use of the drop shot and lob won her several points.

Pavyluchenkova will face Elena Rybakina who defeated Leylah Fernandez in the second match in the Qatar TotalEnergies Open semfinals. It will be their second career meeting. Pavyluchenkova defeated Rybakina at the 2021 French Open in three sets.

Rybakina started sluggish but finished strong against Hernandez

Leylah Fernandez came out blazing and took advantage of a sluggish start by Rybakina to jump out to a 4-1 lead in the first set. The lefty Fernandez and Rybakina had never played before, but it was a matter of time and patience before Rybakina found her game.

Fernandez's serve began to let her down also. The motion involved touching the ball and the head of the racket on her leg which did not help her rhythm. Once again, the wind was a factor throwing off Fernandez's tosses; she caught many in air before replaying them.

Rybakina admitted after the Round of 16 three-set match against Emma Navarro that she hoped to have ample time to recover. Perhaps that was the reason for her slow start. At her best, with the serve and powerful ground strokes, she is hard to beat. Rybakina faces Pavlyuchenkova in Frida's semifinals at a time yet to-be-determined.

The other quarterfinal matches between Victoria Azarenka and Iga Swiatek and Naomi Osaka and Karolina Pliskova will also be played on Thursday.

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