Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova booked a spot in the semifinals of the Qatar TotalEnergies Open on Thursday by winning an all-unseeded quarterfinal match against Danielle Collins, 7-5, 6-4 -- which earns the former World No.11 her first hard-court semifinal berth at a WTA 1000 in 14 years. 

2021 Roland Garros finalist Pavlyuchenkova, competing in her first quarterfinal in Doha after falling in the Round of 16 twice, is through to her four career WTA 1000 semifinal, and her first on any surface since the 2021 Mutua Madrid Open -- but she last achieved the feat on hard courts as a 19-year-old at the 2010 Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. Her breakthrough on the Hologic WTA Tour came a year prior, when at 17, she reached the semifinals at the BNP Paribas Open.

"I have never played good in Qatar, so I always thought conditions were not, like, good for me and for some reason I never felt good playing here, and especially at this level event in these conditions," Pavlyuchenkova said afterwards.

"So now I'm just actually really proud of this even more, because sometimes you play, like I like, for example, Madrid or Roland Garros, and I'm not saying it's normal that I would play well there, but it's kind of different where, when you really feel like, 'OK, this tournament is really tough and I don't play good here over the years,' and now you do well, this is more special."

The World No.32 needed 1 hour and 34 minutes to see off former World No.7 Collins, a qualifier this week, and she regrouped after losing a 5-2 lead to start the opener.

Though Pavlyuchenkova hit fewer winners than Collins (17 to 24), she also hit fewer unforced errors (14 to 20) and went a perfect 4-for-4 on break points to score her first win in four career meetings against the American.

For a spot in her first WTA 1000 final, Pavlyuchenkova will face No.3 seed Elena Rybakina, who came from 4-1 down in the first set to defeat 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-2.

In all, Rybakina won six straight games to turn her first-ever match against Fernandez around and advance to her third semifinal in five tournaments played this season so far in 94 minutes. 

The Kazakh denied Fernandez five game points to level the first set at 5-5 and continue her mid-match streak, and also won the last four games of the match overall.

"She's very good player, lefty, tricky one," Rybakina said. "Didn't start the match that well, but in the end found my way in the first set and happy to win in two.

"Today was quite windy compared other days. I didn't start with my serve well, and it was not easy to adjust. But .. I found my way, and also started to return and be better."

Pavlyuchenkova beat Rybakina in their only previous meeting on her way to the final at Roland Garros in 2021, and it was an epic: Pavlyuchenkova came from a set down to win 6-7(2), 6-2, 9-7.