Qatar Open: Iga Swiatek continues title defence as Naomi Osaka falls to Karolina Pliskova


World number one Iga Swiatek continued her bid for a third straight Qatar Open title, while Japan’s Naomi Osaka was knocked out in Doha.

Swiatek needed just 74 minutes to beat Belarusian former world number one Victoria Azarenka 6-4 6-0.

The Pole, who is on an 11-match winning run in Doha, will play an in-form Karolina Pliskova in the semi-finals.

Czech Pliskova ended Osaka’s best run in nearly two years with a 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-5) win.

Four-time major winner Osaka returned to tennis last month after giving birth to her daughter Shai in July.

Her quarter-final meeting with Pliskova was the furthest she had gone in a tournament since reaching the Miami Open final in April 2022, losing to Swiatek.

Pliskova, who won her first WTA title in four years at the Transylvania Open on Sunday, was broken by Osaka in her opening service game but hit back immediately and came out on top of the first-set tie-break.

Osaka saved a match point at 5-5 and two more at 6-6 to force a tie-break in the second set, but Pliskova sealed the success at the fourth time of asking after one hour and 43 minutes.

On the other side of the women’s draw in Doha, 2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina sealed her last-four spot after she fought back from 4-1 down in the opening set to beat Canadian Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-2.

The Kazakh third seed will face Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who defeated Danielle Collins 7-5 6-4.


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