Karolina Pliskova defeated Zhang Shuai in straight sets to set up a semifinal showdown with Dominika Cibulkova at the Qatar Total Open.
WTA Staff

DOHA, Qatar - World No.3 Karolina Pliskova defeated Zhang Shuai for the fourth time in their career meetings, winning, 6-2, 6-0 to set up a semifinal showdown with Dominika Cibulkova at the Qatar Total Open.

"I was waiting for this match since yesterday evening, so I was happy that I won," said Pliskova after the match. "I think she was not playing her best today so that's why it went so fast in the second set but I played solid today so I'm really happy to be through to the semis.

"Definitely the first few days I was happy that it was raining because I needed a few days off. It was a big help the first few days but then actually it was disturbing me a little so today I was five times warming up but finally I made it."

Pliskova was fast out of the blocks, breaking Zhang in the opening game before a second break opened up a 5-2 lead thanks to some big serving and powerful hitting. But another rain delay meant that the players again had to scamper for cover.

On resumption, Pliskova swiftly served out the opening set and broke in the opening game of the second set before the rain returned.

Following yet a lengthy break of almost five hours, the Czech, who defeated Caroline Garcia in the previous round, was in no mood to hang around any longer than necessary with a semifinal also to play. Two further breaks put her firmly in charge and she served out to love against Garbine Muguruza's conqueror to book her clash with Cibulkova.

Pliskova has never before defeated Cibulkova in their three previous meetings but hopes that her quarterfinal victory will stand her in good stead.

"Definitely a tough one. She played yesterday last night so she's going to be ready for today and different conditions so I'll try and take advantage of the match I played today and stay aggressive as always and we'll see."

.@KaPliskova absolutely crushes a return winner! ? #Qatar_Total_Open pic.twitter.com/9D0LGvDEWK

? WTA (@WTA) February 17, 2017

Victory for the US Open finalist marks her best result on her fourth successive appearance in Doha; the Czech had not previously advanced beyond the second round.