Maria Sakkari claimed another high-profile victim, marching into the semi-finals of the WTA event in Abu Dhabi on Monday with a 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 fightback over top seed Sofia Kenin.

Defeat in 93 minutes by the 22nd-ranked Greek was the last stop before Kenin heads at the weekend into the 14-day Australian Open quarantine in Melbourne.

Sakkari earlier defeated celebrated American teen Coco Gauff and followed up with fifth seed and double Grand Slam winner Garbine Muguruza.

Ninth seed Sakkari will next take on fourth seed Aryna Sabalenka after the Belarus player clocked her 13th consecutive match win, putting out Elena Rybakin 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

“I was rushing a bit at the start, so I changed my game and it worked,” Sakkari said. “I had way too many errors and was trying to hit big when I didn’t have to.

“But beating a few different players helps a lot with a Grand Slam coming up.

“I’m preparing in my best way for it; I have a lot of confidence starting the season like this.”

Sakkari called upcoming opponent Sabaenka “super confident.”

“We know each other’s games really well, she’s young and one of the toughest to play, I’ve beaten her once and I hope I can do it again.”


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