Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza will play each other for a place in the 2020 Australian Open final after winning their respective quarter-final matches on Wednesday. Opening the day’s play first, fourth seed Halep dismantled 28th seed Anett Kontaveit, winning 6-1, 6-1 in just 53 minutes.
The 2018 finalist was broken once in the match but went on break her opponent’s serve on five occasions. Twelve winners and 10 unforced errors made up Halep’s match as compared to the Estonian’s 15 winners and unforced errors each.
Still yet to lose a set this far in the tournament, a happy Halep said after the match, “I felt great today on court, I feel my game, I feel strong on my legs and I knew how to play against her. I’ve just been focused on every game I played, and I really enjoy playing here in Melbourne”.
Against the unseeded Muguruza, Halep will have to focus some, and then some. The Spaniard was slow to start against Russian 30th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova but made quick work of her as the match progressed to win 7-5, 6-3 in an hour and 33 minutes.
Ahead of the match, the meeting was called a showdown between Muguruza and Pavlyuchenkova’s coach – Sam Sumyk – who had a turbulent coaching relationship with the two-time Major champion. As Pavlyuchenkova began the match on her terms, going on to take an early service break, it seemed as though Muguruza’s time had come to an end at Melbourne Park.
However, Muguruza levelled the opening set at 4-4 and while keeping at her game, waited patiently for her opponent to stutter. Pavlyuchenkova took a step back for the first time in the match in the 12th game of the opening set.
Serving to stay in the set, she was unable to control the errors off her racquet leading to a loss of the set. She did start the second set with a break, in the first game itself. Yet, she was broken right back as she tried consolidating her lead.
A few games later, Pavlyuchenkova’s intensity had waned even as Muguruza upped her level further. A second break of Pavlyuchenkova’s serve and a consolidation later, Muguruza had all but settled the result of the match in practicality.
That came later as she successfully served out the match at 5-3 without any missteps. This is Muguruza’s first semi-final at the Australian Open. She is also the first Spaniard to reach the penultimate round here, since her coach Conchita Martinez in 2000.
Following her reaching the semi-final, Muguruza will also re-enter the top-20 of the WTA rankings. Going into the second-last match of the event, Muguruza will have a slender advantage over Halep. She leads their head-to-head 3-2, with all three previous victories coming on hard courts. Photo Credit: Aus Open Twitter