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Halep surges into Dubai semis

DUBAI (AFP) – Simona Halep continued her excellent start to the year by powering past Ons Jabeur and into the semi-finals of the WTA event in Dubai on Thursday, while Jelena Ostapenko saved a match point to edge out Petra Kvitova.

Former world number one Halep, now ranked 23rd after a series of injuries, saw off Tunisian eighth seed Jabeur 6-4, 6-3 in the last eight and will face Ostapenko.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Halep has won 11 of her 12 matches this season after winning an Australian Open warm-up event before a run to the last 16 in the first major tournament of 2022.

The Romanian star has lifted 23 WTA Tour titles, but will next have to pass a tricky test against Ostapenko in a rematch of their dramatic 2017 French Open final, won by the Latvian.

The world number 21 is starting to get back towards her best after slipping out of the top 50 last year.

Ostapenko reached her second semi-final in as many weeks after also making the last four in Saint Petersburg.

But the 24-year-old needed to survive a thrilling clash with fellow former Grand Slam winner Kvitova, battling to a 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (11/9) victory.