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Garbine Muguruza advances to semifinals at WTA Finals

Oct 9, 2021; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Garbine Muguruza (ESP) hits a shot against Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 9, 2021; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Garbine Muguruza (ESP) hits a shot against Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Sixth-seeded Garbine Muguruza posted a 6-4, 6-4 victory over No. 8 Anett Kontaveit on Sunday to advance to the semifinals of the Akron WTA Finals in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Muguruza next will face Paula Badosa on Tuesday, marking the first time two Spaniards have reached the semifinal stage of the WTA Finals. The winner will become the first Spaniard to earn a spot in the finals since Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario 28 years ago.

“This is amazing. I didn’t know all of this history,” Muguruza said after the match, adding that “1993, I was born that year.”

“It’s amazing there are four players left and two of them are Spaniards. I mean, that just shows that Spain has a great level of tennis and a great school. It’s going to be a fun match. It’s like you said, historical. Hopefully the crowd is going to be on the match. Whoever plays better is going to get the final.”

Muguruza is playing in her fourth career WTA Finals and her first since 2017. She had not reached the knockout stage since 2015.

Kontaveit, from Estonia, had won her previous 12 matches and had defeated Muguruza in the quarterfinals at Moscow three weeks ago, cruising to a 6-1, 6-1 triumph in that match.

“I think Garbine played a great match,” Kontaveit said Sunday. “She was very aggressive, just very on it from the first point. I think I made way too many unforced errors. I mean, I don’t think I played a very good match. I just wish I could have done a better job today.”

Earlier Sunday, No. 3 seed Karolina Pliskova defeated Barbora Krejcikova, the second seed, in a 0-6, 6-4, 6-4 decision. In an all-Czech matchup, Krejcikova actually led 6-0, 4-2 before Pliskova began her impressive comeback.

Neither Pliskova nor Krejcikova will advance to the semifinals due to losses earlier in the event. But Pliskova was still pleased with her come-from-behind victory.

“I just fought hard to give myself a chance. (I wanted) at least to wait (and thought), ‘Maybe she’s going to miss a couple,’ because she didn’t really miss anything the first set,” Pliskova said. “It actually happened, of course quite late. But happy I stayed in there and just waited for the chance.”

–Field Level Media