DUBAI: Hsieh Su-wei won the last six games to beat fourth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 on Thursday in Dubai and will face a woman she has never beaten, Petra Kvitova, in the semi-finals.
Second seed Kvitova, winner of the event in 2013, left nothing to chance as she crushed Viktoria Kuzmova 6-4, 6-0.
Double Wimbledon winner Kvitova has won all four of her meetings with Hsieh, most recently in January’s Sydney International second round.
On Thursday, Hsieh staged a remarkable fightback to beat another Czech.
Pliskova had looked in command serving for the set at 5-1 and then 5-3.
The persistent Hsieh kept up the pressure, narrowing the gap and levelling with a second straight break at 5-all.
Hsieh then held for 6-5 and clinched the upset a game later on a second match point after two hours.
“I’m so excited, I was screaming like a baby when I won,” Hsieh said in victory. “It was a tough comeback.”
“She had a lot of aces (nine), I’m just happy I was able to make it back.”
The third-set recovery by the 31st-ranked Hsieh from Taiwan was eerily reminiscent of a similar fightback from Pliskova herself as she beat Serena Williams in their Australian Open quarter-final from a similar disadvantage in the third set.
“I was obviously tired today, my legs were not doing much,” Pliskova said.
“It was a tough match. To play against her, you need to be ready on the legs a lot, which I was not.”
Pliskova had reached at least the semi-final at her previous three Tour events, dating to the Singapore ATP Finals last October.
Kvitova, winner of the event in 2013, beat Kuzmova in just 62 minutes.
“I am pleased, I didn’t give her any time to do her job, maybe turn the match her way,” Kvitova said.
“I do feel my muscles, for sure, especially on the legs. I need a treatment and massage again. I played two long matches before, and I’m still fine, which is great.”
Kvitova said she felt her game was on the rise again after losing the Australian Open final to Naomi Osaka and winning just one match a week later.
“Today was the first day of the better days on the court, off the court. It’s been tough since I came from Australia and St. Petersburg.
“I’m glad that it’s on the way up.”