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Simona Halep reaches the quarters in Dubai

Simona Halep reaches the quarters in Dubai

Petra fended off three out of four break points, limiting the damage in her games and winning eight straight games to march towards the finish line and save energy for more serious challenges.

"Definitely it's a relief right now", Kvitova, said after the match. "I still make some mistakes, but I'm glad that I keep trying, keep trying, keep trying".

"It's a little bit hard because I feel like people are staring at me, and not like in a good way". That's why I just had to go out there and be ready for everything.

She did not sail quite so close to the wind against French Open champion Halep, but still had to overcome the odds to record a 4-6 6-4 6-2 success.

"I played pretty bad, you have days like that".

The 2015 finalist won a marathon game late in the second set, holding for 5-5 after seven deuces plus two set points for her American opponent.

Osaka had not competed since winning the Australian Open in January for her second consecutive Grand Slam title, a victory that also allowed her to become the first tennis player from Asia to lead the rankings.

"I was playing my best tennis and I was handling the first set pretty good but then it is frustrating to have this kind of injury". "I started badly", the world number 26 said.

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The No1 ranking is not on the line in Dubai, but it could change hands again come Indian Wells, as world No2 Halep and No4 Kvitova both aim to close the gap on Osaka courtesy of the 900 points available to the victor this week.

Australian Open runner-up Kvitova was two points away from losing the opening set in the ninth game when she responded in style by clinching 14 of the next 16 points.

Kvitova also won a three-setter in the second round on Tuesday against fellow Czech Katerina Siniakova. I tried to be quicker today than yesterday.

Slovak Viktoria Kuzmova reached a 2019 last-eight place for the second time this season after Auckland through a 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 defeat of American Sofia Kenin. I was still fighting, but in the big stages, I couldn't just do it. It was really hard for me, that time, for sure. I had something different to do in my life.

"I don't really like the attention, so yeah, it's been a little tough".

"I felt I had to apologise to Pliskova because I was crying and screaming so much", said the 33-year-old after reaching her first premier-level tour semi-final.

Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei saw off Belarus' Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-1 6-2.

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