World No 2 Aryna Sabalenka was forced to sweat by Mayar Sherif but eventually came through 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 to reach the Madrid Open semifinals on Tuesday.
Australian Open champion Sabalenka struggled badly at first but turned the two-hour match around convincingly to reach the semifinals.
“I was just trying to keep fighting to keep playing my game and find my rhythm,” said Sabalenka.
“She’s a clay court specialist and I’m very happy with this win. It was a very tough one.”