Elena Rybakina kept her hopes of a second title of 2024 alive when digging deep to beat Danielle Collins to reach the quarter-finals of the Abu Dhabi Open.
The former Wimbledon champion, who opened her campaign with victory at the Brisbane International, was staring defeat in the face when trailing by a set and a break.
Rybakina refused to yield and upped her level to wrap up a 4-6 6-3 6-3 success in two hours and 17 minutes.
Collins and Rybakina have proved evenly matched, with the latter winning their previous two meetings in three sets.
The Kazakhstan player knew that was her only route to victory after her American opponent dominated the opening set.
Collins hit 12 winners, being particularly strong on her backhand, and dropped only one point behind her first serve as she took the opening set.
The 30-year-old worked an early break in the second set, sealing it with a thumping backhand, only for Rybakina to break back immediately.
Rybakina dropped serve again, but the match turned when she hit back in the sixth game – breaking through after four deuces.
Four games on the spin went the way of Rybakina to end the second set.
The decider started in cagey fashion, before Rybakina broke in the fifth game courtesy of a superb backhand pass.
Errors crept into the Collins game in the final set, at a time when Rybakina upper her level of play.
Rybakina broke for a second time in the set to wrap up the win and place in the quarter-finals where she will play Cristina Bucsa who was a 7-6(1) 7-5 winner over Heather Watson.
There is indoor action taking place in Romania, and Harriet Dart advanced to the quarter-finals of the Transylvania Open with a 5-7 7-5 6-3 win over Elisabetta Cocciaretto.
Victory handed Dart a second appearance in a quarter-final in 2024, following her run to the final of the Workday Canberra International in January.
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