The British number one, making her debut in Dubai after being drafted in as a wildcard, edged a tight first set on a tie break before making shorter work of the second set to win 7-6 (7/2), 6-2.
Pavlyuchenkova struck first with a break to lead 4-2, but Konta found a rhythm with her serve and levelled things up in the eighth game of the match.
Konta survived several break points in the next game, which had eight deuce points and lasted just under 14 minutes, before Pavlyuchenkova went to pieces in the tie break and at the beginning of the second set.
The Russian served five double faults in nine service points during the breaker and the opening game of the second set, which Konte won to love.
Konte broke again in the fifth game to take a 4-1 lead and she will play Pavlyuchenkova's Russian compatriot Daria Kasatkina in the last eight.