Ons Jabeur exited the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council following a straight-sets defeat at the hands of Beatriz Haddad Maia, while Elena Rybakina and Lidmila Samsonova set up a meeting in the semifinals.
World Number. 6 Jabeur was heavily backed by a passionate crowd inside Stadium Court, but the Tunisian was unable to replicate the form she produced in Wednesday’s impressive win over Emma Raducanu.
Haddad Maia, also through to the semifinals of the doubles competition alongside compatriot Luisa Stefani, won the first set 6-3 and while Jabeur produced flashes of quality, she was unable to find the consistency to seriously trouble the Brazilian.
Having saved one match point, the writing was on the wall for Jabeur when Haddad Maia, on her serve, forced another, and for the second time around she made it count to set up a semi-final clash against Daria Kasatkina.
Samsonova was the first player to book her spot in the last four as she triumphed in the day’s opening contest on Stadium Court, the 25-year-old overcoming World No. 12 Barbora Krejčíková in straight sets.
It marks a second consecutive semifinal at the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open for Samsonova, who defeated Qinwen Zheng at the same stage last year before losing in the final to Belinda Bencic.
After eliminating Anhelina Kalinina in the quarter-finals, Samsonova edged two close sets in the UAE sunshine, progressing 7-5, 6-4.
“I’m so happy with the way it went because I knew it would be a match at a high level,” she said, “Barbora is an amazing player and it’s incredible the way I managed today, I’m so happy.
“My game is coming together because of course it’s important to serve well, but I’m returning well too and together it’s a great mix.
“I’ve been speaking about last year’s final for a year, I really remember it. I don’t know if I will be in the final again this year but I will try,” Samsonova said.
Also through to the last four is Kazakhstan’s Rybakina who recorded a straight-sets victory over Cristina Bucșa.
The 2022 Wimbledon champion was forced to come from behind against Danielle Collins in the quarter-finals, but it was a different story today as she took control from the outset and quickly won the first set.
Bucșa responded well in the second and, at one point, looked on course to force a third set, but after breaking her opponent’s serve, World No. 5 Rybakina saw the match out to win 6-1, 6-4.
Rybakina and Samsonova go head-to-head on Saturday for a place in the final.
In the day’s concluding match, Kasatkina made light work of Cîrstea with a truly dominant display.
The 2022 French Open semi-finalist started well and got better as the match progressed, blowing her opponent away to win 6-2, 6-0.
She plays Haddad Maia tomorrow with a place in the final up for grabs.
Linda Noskova and Heather Watson are through to the final of the doubles competition following a thrilling quarter-final win over Nicole Melichar and Ellen Perez.
Noskova and Watson advance straight to the final via Walk Over due to the fact their scheduled semi-final opponents, Magda Linette and Bernarda Pera, have withdrawn after Linette sustained an injury to her left thigh.
They will face either Haddad Maia and Stefani or Sofia Kennin and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who play tomorrow, in Sunday’s final.
Kennin and Mattek-Sands traded competing on the tennis court for some high-speed track action as they headed to nearby Yas Marina Circuit, home of the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, for a karting session. The duo face Haddad Maia and Stefani in the semifinals of the doubles competition on Saturday.
Elsewhere, after booking her place in the semi-finals, Samsonova was welcomed by Healthpoint to the Mubadala Pavilion where she spoke with fans, posed for photographs and took part in a couple of games.
Guests in the Fan Village, meanwhile, were treated to live music with a performance from the multi-award-winning band, International Playboys, who kick-started the weekend in the best possible way.
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