World number one Iga Swiatek swept past Liudmila Samsonova for the loss of just one game in the last 16 of the Dubai WTA tournament on Wednesday, earning praise from fellow three-time major winner Andy Murray.
The 21-year-old Pole was then handed a walkover into the semifinals when scheduled quarterfinal opponent Karolina Pliskova pulled out with an injury.
On Wednesday, Swiatek triumphed 6-1, 6-0 over Samsonova to follow her opening 6-1, 6-1 win over Leylah Fernandez.
Swiatek has dropped only eight games in her last six matches, a stretch which saw her lift the Doha title last weekend.
“She is different,” tweeted men’s former world number one Murray in appreciation.
Reigning French and US Open champion Swiatek was to have faced former Dubai finalist Pliskova in Thursday’s quarter-finals but the Czech said a virus would force her withdrawal.
“After playing the finals here a few years ago and doing very well this year, it’s very disappointing for me,” tweeted Pliskova.
“But after struggling with a virus and cramps for a couple hours right after my match, I’m not able to continue.”
Pliskova had booked her last-eight spot with a 7-5, 6-7 (6/8), 6-2 victory over Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina.
Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka made it 13 wins in 13 matches in 2023 by dethroning defending champion Jelena Ostapenko 2-6, 6-1, 6-1.
“In the first set, she played unbelievable tennis and I couldn’t do anything,” world number two Sabalenka said.
“I was looking at my team asking like, ‘What can I do?’ but somehow, I turned around this game, and started playing really incredible tennis.”
Coco Gauff and Madison Keys will meet in an all-American quarterfinal.
Fifth-seeded Gauff advanced when Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina withdrew from their last 16 clash due to a lower back injury.
Keys booked her quarterfinal spot with a 6-2, 6-1 win over former world number one Victoria Azarenka in just 57 minutes.