Aussie Cabrera aims for maiden WTA semi

Ethan James
Australia's Lizette Cabrera faces third seed Elena Rybakina for a place in the last four in Hobart

Australian wildcard Lizette Cabrera wants to channel her inner positivity as she aims for a maiden WTA semi-final appearance at the Hobart International.

The world No.129 has reeled off two upsets on her way to the quarter-finals, beating both former top-five player Caroline Garcia and current No. 62 Kristyna Pliskova from a set down.

On Thursday night, Cabrera will take on big-hitting third seed Elena Rybakina for a place in the final four.

The 22-year-old said an improved focus was behind the back-to-back victories in which she's spent more than four hours on court.

Cabrera thrived in the warm Hobart weather on Wednesday to take down Pliskova, the twin sister of world No.2 Karolina, 4-6 6-4 6-4.

"I do a lot of breathing exercises with my coach," the Townsville-born Cabrera said.

"We talk about having positive self-talk every day of my life, and I'm finally getting better at that."

Cabrera, whose favourite player is Rafael Nadal, has been awarded a wildcard at the upcoming Australian Open where she is hoping to register her first grand slam win.

But for now the focus is firmly on Hobart.

"I think going into every tournament you should think that you can win it and not just win one round," she said.

"These wins have given me a boost in confidence, but I'm still taking it one match at a time."

Cabrera has previously made two quarter-finals at WTA level, both in 2017.

Her next opponent Rybakina, ranked 30, was ominous in dispatching Frenchwoman Alize Cornet in straight sets.

In other quarter-finals on Thursday, two-times grand slam winner Garbine Muguruza plays fifth seed Veronika Kudermetova while top seed and world No.17 Elise Mertens meets British qualifier Heather Watson.