For the second day in a row Thursday, top seed and world No. 2 Simona Halep rallied from an underwhelming first set to take the next two sets and advance at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Halep defeated seventh-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinal match. The Romanian dropped the first set on the hardcourt but rallied to take the next two in a match that lasted 98 minutes. On Wednesday, Halep dropped the first set 1-6 and faced match point in the third before beating Ons Jabeur of Tunisia 1-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7).
Halep will face unseeded American Jennifer Brady in the semifinals. Brady also dropped the first set before winning the next two, upsetting ninth-seeded Garbine Muguruza of Spain 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4.
In the other semifinal, 20-year-old Kazakhstani Elena Rybakina will face eighth-seeded Petra Martic of Croatia.
Rybakina pulled off perhaps the upset of the tournament, taking down No. 2 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 7-6 (1), 6-3 for her first career win over a top-five opponent. Martic had perhaps the easiest time of any player Thursday, taking down unseeded Estonian Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (4), 6-1.
--Field Level Media