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Muguruza secures semis spot in WTA Finals; to take on Badosa in all-Spanish clash

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Guadalajara (Mexico), Nov 15 (IANS) World No. 6 Garbine Muguruza of Spain secured her spot in the WTA Finals Guadalajara semifinal, overcoming No.8 seed Anett Kontaveit 6-4, 6-4 to snap the Estonian’s 12-match winning run on Monday (IST).

The former world No.1 advanced to the semifinals as the second qualifier out of the ‘Teotihuacan group’, posting a 2-1 record along with group winner Kontaveit and will face country-mate Paula Badosa on Tuesday. The winner will be the first Spanish woman to advance to the finals since Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario finished runner-up in 1993.

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With Muguruza and Badosa, this is the first time two Spaniards have advanced to the semifinal stage at the elite eight-player WTA Finals. Playing in her fourth WTA Finals and first since 2017, Muguruza is into the knockout stage for the first time since her tournament debut in 2015.

“This is amazing. I didn’t know all of this history,” Muguruza said. “1993, I was born that year,” the Spaniard told wtatennis.com.

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“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,” added Muguruza.

Coming into the match with a 2-0 record after back-to-back straight set wins, Kontaveit confirmed her place at the top of the ‘Teotihuacan group’ after Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova’s three-set win over country-mate Barbora Krejcikova earlier in the day. Pliskova’s victory created an easy scenario for Muguruza — win and advance.

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“Today was a match that was kind of everything or nothing,” Muguruza said. “Starting the round-robin with a loss, it was never good. To finally get two wins and qualify was amazing. Today I think I played the best match out of the three. Cutting this long run from Anett, I was like, Okay, is it going to be me the one to stop her?”

“I think Garbine played a great match,” Kontaveit said. “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.”

Kontaveit finished the match with more winners, 17 to 13, but it was Muguruza’s serve that proved the dominant stroke.

On facing country-mate Badosa for the first time in the semifinal, Muguruza said, “I’ve been very happy for her. She started the year obviously further back. She made her way to the top playing amazing, winning Indian Wells. We shared fun moments in the Olympics. We’ve talked a little bit. We get to know a little bit more of each other. It’s a special week to bond.”

–IANS

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