Hsieh marches into Dubai semifinals after ousting Pliskova

Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei serves the ball to Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova during the WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship in the Gulf emirate of Dubai on Thursday. — AFP

DUBAI — Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei pulled off another stunning upset to reach the semifinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Thursday, when she staged a remarkable late rally to beat fourth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 1-6, 7-5.

The unseeded Hsieh, who knocked Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber out of the last 16 on Wednesday, was on the ropes at 5-1 down in the deciding set against the big-serving Pliskova, but won the last six games to deny the Czech victory.

Hsieh will battle Pliskova's compatriot, two-times Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, for a place in Saturday's final after the second-seeded Czech dispatched Slovakian Viktoria Kuzmova 6-4, 6-0 in a one-side quarter-final lasting 62 minutes.

Kvitova, who was champion in Dubai in 2013 and runner-up at this year's Australian Open, sent down 21 winners and won 74 percent of her first serve points while making 12 unforced errors as she dominated from start to finish.

"I didn't give (Kuzmova) any time to do her job, maybe turn the match in her way," Kvitova said after the win.

"(Hsieh is) a tough and tricky opponent. I played her in Sydney in a really tough match. Will be probably some rallies tomorrow, and I need to be ready for every shot she's going to bring to the game."

On the other side of the draw, unseeded Swiss youngster Belinda Bencic ousted world No. 2 Simona Halep 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in a seesaw quarterfinal.

Bencic, ranked 45th, broke Halep's serve seven times during Thursday's contest before claiming victory on her third match point as her Romanian opponent ran out of steam.

The 21-year-old will face defending champion Elina Svitolina in the other semifinal after the Ukrainian eased past Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-3 in the day's last match. — Reuters