Dubai Tennis Championships: Pliskova, Muguruza restore order

While Karolina Pliskova cruised to a straight-sets victory over Kristina Mladenovic, Garbine Muguruza came through a three-setter against Russian Veronika Kudermetova to progress to the quarters.

Karolina Pliskova

Karolina Pliskova plays a return during her match against Kristina Mladenovic.   -  AP

Karolina Pliskova and Garbine Muguruza re-established order among seeds on Wednesday as both reached the quarterfinals of the WTA Dubai Championships.

While number two Czech Pliskova strolled in barely an hour to a 6-1 6-2 defeat of qualifier Kristina Mladenovic, it took number nine Muguruza almost two and a half hours to get past Russian Veronika Kudermetova 7-5 4-6 6-4.

The pair of victories came a day after three major names made exits, with holder Belinda Bencic, third seed Elina Svitolina and Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin all going out.

Top seed Simona Halep came back from a set down against Tunisia's Ons Jabeur and secure her place in the quarterfinals with a 1-6 6-2 7-6 (7) victory. She will face Belarusian seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka, a 6-4 6-3 winner over Belgian doubles partner Elise Mertens.

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Pliskova pegged back Mladenovic after the Frenchwoman earned only her first main draw win of the season in the first round.

“It’s always a tough one against her. We played in Australia, so I knew what to expect,” Pliskova said.

“I was not playing amazing but still, even with a couple of mistakes, I didn’t give up.

“The score looked a little bit easier than it really was, we had a couple of tough games.”

Muguruza had to struggle two days after ending the current comeback of Kim Clijsters as Spain’s double grand Slam champion grappled with her world number 39 opponent.

“There’s a lot of things that I could have done better,” Muguruza, quarterfinalist in 2015 and 2018, said.

“But I’m excited that I gave myself another opportunity to be in the quarters.”

Last month’s Australian Open finalist added: “I’m just happy that I get these tough matches.

“Honestly, the difference is very, very small, I’m just pleased to go through.” Muguruza secured her place with a break in the final game as she converted on her first match point.

The ninth-seeded Spaniard will bid for the semifinals on Thursday, taking on Jennifer Brady, a 4-6 6-4 6-21 winner against Marketa Vondrousova.

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