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Halep rallies to set up Dubai semifinal against Brady

Simona Halep

Simona Halep of Romania celebrates after beating Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in their women’s singles semifinal in the China Open tennis tournament at the Diamond Court in Beijing, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. Halep achieved the women’s world #1 ranking with the victory. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Top-seeded Simona Halep came from a set down for the second day in a row to beat Aryna Sabalenka 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 Thursday and reach the semifinals at the Dubai Championships.

Halep had to save a match point against Ons Jabeur on Wednesday and again found herself in trouble against the hard-hitting Sabalenka. But she broke for a 3-1 lead in both the second and third sets to earn her third win in four career meetings with the Belarusian.

“It’s always tough to play against her because she’s very strong and hits the ball really, really hard,” Halep said. “I think I played quicker in the second set and third set. She didn’t have time to stay and to hit the ball. So I think that was the key of the match.”

Halep will next face Amerian qualifier Jennifer Brady, who upset former No. 1 Garbine Muguruza 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4 to reach her third career WTA semifinal.

Brady wasted a 5-2 lead in the first set, but won the last four games of the second and broke again in the final game of the decider.

In the other semifinal, Elena Rybakina will play Petra Martic.

Rybakina beat second-seeded Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (1), 6-3, while the eighth-seeded Martic reached her first semifinal in five months by ousting Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (4), 6-1.

Elena Rybakina beat Katerina Siniakova 6-3, 6-3 and plays Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals. Pliskova beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-1 6-2.

In the last quarterfinal match-up, Jennifer Brady will play Muguruza. Brady beat Marketa Vondrousova 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 and Muguruza defeated Veronika Kudermetova 7-5 4-6 6-4.