LINZ, Austria - The Upper Austria Ladies Linz quarterfinals began in earnest on Friday afternoon as former WTA Doubles No.1 Barbora Krejcikova continued her breakout singles season with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich to reach her second career WTA semifinal. 2018 finalist Ekaterina Alexandrova was next through as she knocked out Roland Garros semifinalist Nadia Podoroska, 6-2, 6-1.
Krejcikova last made it to a tour-level semifinal in 2017, when she finished runner-up to Kiki Bertens at the Nürnberger Versicherungscup as a qualifier. The Czech has backed up her fourth round run at the French Open in some style in Linz, dismissing Sasnovich in 67 minutes on Centre Court.
"I'm really happy," she said after the match. "This means a lot to me that I'm even able to be here and able to play. It's obviously very difficult with everything happening in the world right now. I'm just really fortunate to be able to compete, have fun, and enjoy tennis."
In control throughout the clash, Krejcikova raced ahead 4-1 in the opening set, and though she ceded one break back to the Belarusian, she would ultimately win eight of the final nine games, losing just six points behind her first serve and converting five of nine break point opportunities.
"My ranking is improving, which is excellent for me. I've always been dreaming of being in the Top 100. I'm moving even higher and higher up now, which is very prestigious for me. It was a very tough season, but when I was at home, I tried to put a lot of work into my tennis: physically and mentally. I'm very glad that all that work is paying off right now.
"I'm in a position where I've never been. In the past, I played a lot of doubles and wasn't able to get nearly as far in singles where balance was even a question. I'm sure I'll find the answer next year, because I really want to play singles and doubles. We'll see how I can manage."
Awaiting her in the final four will be either top seed Aryna Sabalenka or French qualifier Oceane Dodin, who face off in the final match of the day.
"Whoever wins, it'll be another tough match. They're all the best players in the world, so I'll probably watch a little this evening."
Up next on Centre Court was Alexandrova, who reached her first WTA final at this very tournament two years ago - falling to fellow big-hitter Camila Giorgi.
"The start of the year was pretty good for me, and it feels great to be back. We're finally back to playing indoors, too, because before that it felt like I was on clay every week, which isn't my best surface.
"I was kind of frustrated during the pause, not knowing how long we would be off the tour. When we came back, I'd somewhat lost my feeling, my rhythm that I had at the start of the season. It took some time to find it again, but I think I've found it!"
She encountered similarly tough opposition on Friday as an on-fire Podoroska rallied from a set down to defeat Giorgi and reach the last eight, having enjoyed a scintillating run to the semifinals on the terre battue last month.
Still, the Russian proved more experienced on indoor hardcourts, closing out the Argentine without dropping serve in the 58-minute win, saving the only two break points faced - including one as she served for the match.
"After the first set, I felt more confident. I'm hoping I'll be able to keep this level for the next match, so we'll see."
The No.4 seed will take on either No.5 seed Veronika Kudermetova or No.2 seed Elise Mertens.