Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka needed a fightback from a set and a break down to overcome an unexpected Egyptian challenge from Mayar Sherif.

The second seed recovered to post a 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 win which took two hours and handed the reigning Australian Open winner her fifth semi-final from seven tournaments in 2023.

Sabalenka made her recovery by winning 11 of the last dozen games from 2-1 down in the second set to improve to 27-4 on the season.

Sherif, ranked 59th, was the first from her African country to get to the last eight at the Masters 1000 level.

Second seed Sabalenka advanced with 27 winners and 37 unforced errors.

It was a crazy match. I’m super happy that I was able to turn around and win this one,” Sabalenka said.

“She played unbelievable tennis. It was really tough today.

“I just couldn’t adjust to her game, and I was really going crazy.

“I’m really happy I was able to stop myself, to take a little breath and just start everything from the beginning.

“It was good I kept fighting for every point no matter what in the second set.

“In the third set I didn’t give her much chances to play her game.”