World No 3 Coco Gauff held her nerve in front of an expectant Centre Court crowd at Dubai Tennis Stadium tonight, fighting back from a set down to seal a nail-biting three-set win (2-6, 6-4 6-3) over the Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova.

With several seeds already ruthlessly dispatched by lesser-ranked opponents at this week’s WTA 1000 event, reigning US Open champion Gauff narrowly avoided becoming the latest big-name casualty as she moved into the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships quarterfinals after a rollercoaster tie that kept fans fixed to the edge of their seats.

As big names continued to fall in the hyper-competitive WTA 1000 event, Gauff progresses into a quarterfinal clash with Anna Kalinskaya, who defeated 2022 Dubai champion and World No9 Jelena Ostapenka 6-4, 7-5 earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, world number one Iga Swiatek was too strong for Elina Svitolina as the Polish superstar won 6-1, 6-4 to enter the quaterfinals.

Joining Gauff and Kalinskaya in the last eight are No7 seed Marketa Vondrousova, who won six consecutive games while breezing past 12th seed Liudmilla Samsonova 6-2, 6-2, and Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, who defeated World No2 Aryna Sabalenka’s second round conqueror Donna Vekic 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Earlier in the afternoon, Jasmine Paolini said she was “really confident” about her chances of further success in Dubai after knocking out No8 seed Maria Sakkari 6-4, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals. The 28-year-old’s latest victory over top-15 opposition – the Italian’s 27th on hard courts in the last calendar year – followed an impressive straight sets win against Canadian Leylah Fernandez on Tuesday, and a first round win over No11 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Paolini admitted she is in strong spirits ahead of a quarterfinal clash with No4 seed Elena Rybakina, who triumphed 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 over Poland’s Magdalena Frech today. “Yeah, I feel really confident,” said Paolini. “I don't think about my opponent’s ranking, I just think about what I have to do on the court. I'm really confident and looking forward to the next match.”

Ahead of the hotly anticipated quarterfinal clash, Rybakina is unwilling to put herself under any unnecessary pressure following a 17th victory this year: “Well, I'm happy that I'm still winning matches,” said the Kazakh star, who won the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open and reached the final in Qatar last week. “I don't know how much I can push and how much I can recover in this half-day, but it's a good problem to have as no one expected me to play so many matches in the past two weeks.”

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