Ekaterina Alexandrova ended No.1 seed Elena Rybakina's six-match winning streak 6-3, 6-3 in the Adelaide quarterfinals to notch her third career Top 3 victory.

Alexandrova, who saved four match points en route to beating Magda Linette 3-6 7-6(8), 7-5 in the first round, improved to 3-1 overall against Rybakina. She had previously defeated the Kazakh in straight sets in the 2020 Shenzhen final and Western & Southern Open first round; her only loss in the series also came in 2020, on the clay of Rome.

Both sets saw Alexandrova leap out to significant leads with confident big hitting, then quell a threatened comeback from Rybakina at the tail end of each. In the first set, the World No.21 held a point for 5-0, only for Rybakina to come up with a series of superb backhands to cut the lead to 4-3.

In the second, Alexandrova managed to reach 5-0, but some fine volleying enabled Rybakina to respond with three games in a row. Serving for the match a second time, Alexandrova faced triple break point -- but found clean winners on four of the next five points to halt the momentum shift and seal victory.

In total, Alexandrova struck 28 winners to 15 unforced errors; Rybakina found 22 winners, including nine aces, but was undone by 25 unforced errors.

Alexandrova will next face No.6 seed Jelena Ostapenko, who booked a spot in her first semifinal of the year with a 7-5, 6-3 quarterfinal victory over Marta Kostyuk.

World No.12 Ostapenko of Latvia took 1 hour and 32 minutes to subdue 41st-ranked Kostyuk of Ukraine event and improved to 2-0 in their head-to-head (4-0 in sets).

2017 Roland Garros champion Ostapenko's power game was in fine form on Thursday, when she fired 30 winners to 17 unforced errors. Ostapenko's 5-2 first-set lead slid back to 5-5, but she broke Kostyuk's serve three times after that to move to victory.

"It was a tough match, of course, but finally I won in two sets, I managed it," Ostapenko said afterwards on court. "I feel like I was striking the ball well today. Even in the first set when it was 5-2 to 5-5, I still was playing my game, and then at the end I found it. Just happy to be through."

Alexandrova and Ostapenko first played each other in the quarterfinals of the 2015 ITF W50 event in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland, with Ostapenko winning 6-3, 6-3. Alexandrova leads the overall had-to-head 5-3 -- though two of her victories came via retirement, and Ostapenko edged their last encounter 7-6(3), 6-7(6), 7-5 in the 2023 San Diego first round.

The pair have only played twice on outdoor hard courts before, both times in Seoul. Alexandrova won both of those in straights, in the 2018 second round and the 2022 final.

Meanwhile, Daria Kasatkina moved into the semifinals without striking a ball after her quarterfinal opponent, Laura Siegemund, withdrew from their match.

World No.15 Kasatkina is now one win away from repeating her finalist appearance at the second of last year's two Adelaide events.

Pegula battles to come back against Pavlyuchenkova

For the second round running, No.2 seed Jessica Pegula had to come from a set down to advance. The American needed 2 hours and 26 minutes to quell Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-7(1), 7-5, 6-4 from a set and a break down, surviving a barrage of 45 winners from the qualifier.

In the first set, Pegula was unable to get her own ground game going; five of her seven winners were aces, and they were outweighed by 10 unforced errors -- particularly in a tiebreak that Pavlyuchenkova dominated.

After an exchange of breaks early in the second set, Pavlyuchenkova seemed on the verge of victory when she held a break point at 5-5. But Pegula found another fine serve to save it, then took advantage of the 2021 Roland Garros finalist lapsing into error to snatch the set and move up 3-1 in the decider.

Pavlyuchenkova fought back to level at 3-3, but Pegula came up with her best shots in the home stretch -- a drop shot winner out of nowhere and a lethal forehand winner on the run. She got over the line after Pavlyuchenkova netted a sitter forehand, her 42nd of the match, down match point.

Pegula will next face Kasatkina for the third time, having won both of their previous encounters in straight sets.

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