Doha, Qatar, 28 February 2020 | AAP

Top seed Ash Barty defeated Garbine Muguruza in three sets on Thursday evening local time to reach the semifinals of the Qatar Open.

Barty beat Australian Open finalist Muguruza 6-1 6-7(4) 6-2 to set up a meeting with Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova in the last four in Doha.

The Australian had beaten the Spaniard once before and it was a tight contest before the world No.1 broke away in the third set.

Barty, 23, claimed the first set in just 25 minutes, winning all 11 of her first serve points.

Muguruza broke in the second set to lead 4-2, before Barty broke back immediately to force a tiebreak, which the Spaniard won 7-4 to send the contest to a third set.

Barty broke the world No.16’s serve three times in the final set to storm to victory.

“She (Muguruza) was able to take a certain position in the court in the second set there, and she did a really good job of that, but (I’m) happy to get through in the end,” Barty said.

“I’ve seen plenty of Aussie flags around which has been fantastic as well. I recognize the Aussie voices. I love it. I love the Aussie accent. It’s a lot of fun playing out here.”

Barty’s semifinal opponent Kvitova, who defeated Muguruza in the 2018 final, beat Ons Jabeur 7-6(2) 7-6(4) in their last eight contest.

In January, Barty held off Kvitova to become the first local player to make the Australian Open semifinals since Wendy Turnbull in 1984.

“I’m really looking forward to it, I love testing myself against Petra. We have fantastic battles every single time, so it will be no different tomorrow I’m sure,” she said.

Barty, playing in her first tournament since the Australian Open, had advanced to the quarterfinals via a walkover after her opponent Elena Rybakina withdrew due to a leg injury.

Barty is through to her third semifinal of the season after also reaching the same stage in Adelaide, where she eventually went on to win the title.

She has split eight career meetings with Kvitova, although she has won the past four.