SINGAPORE: Garbine Muguruza reached the WTA Finals last four unbeaten on Friday after a tough win over Petra Kvitova — who also qualified for the semis with help from her fellow Czech Lucie Safarova.
On a rollercoaster last day of group play, Muguruza and Kvitova shared 15 service breaks in a see-sawing three-setter before the increasingly impressive Spaniard won 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.
Kvitova’s hopes were hanging by a thread but she went through when her friend and Fed Cup teammate Safarova beat Angelique Kerber 6-4, 6-3, stopping the German finishing second in White Group.
Already-eliminated Safarova said she met a delighted Kvitova in the locker room and “she said she might buy me some beers”.
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Muguruza will play Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska in Saturday’s semi-finals while Kvitova will meet Maria Sharapova, who like Muguruza has swept through all three of her group matches.
The semi-finals line-up raises the possibility of a title clash between fast-rising star Muguruza and Russia’s Sharapova, the established force with five Grand Slam titles to her name.
“To be here is a great pay-off after the whole year, and hopefully I can continue winning and playing like this,” said Muguruza, who is also into the doubles semi-finals.
Safarova, who was already eliminated and playing for little more than personal and national pride, was delighted to keep Kvitova’s hopes alive with her win over Kerber.
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“Teamwork! Well, I’m happy for her that she went through to the semis, I’m happy for my win as well,” she said.
Kerber, who needed to win only one set to qualify, did not mask her disappointment and indicated she was distracted by people audibly calculating her match progress during a changeover.
“They were counting: ‘Okay she won one set, now you must win just one set,’” she said. “I was not feeling good. From the first point I couldn’t find my rhythm. I was actually not there.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 31st, 2015.
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