Muguruza sets up Mladenovic showdown in Monterrey

Published by Tennismash

FOCUSED: Garbine Muguruza is into the final eight in Monterrey; Getty Images
Former world No.1s Garbine Muguruza and Victoria Azarenka secure quarterfinal places in Monterrey.

Defending champion Garbine Muguruza survived a scare to advance to the Monterrey quarterfinals.

The former world No.1 needed three sets to overcome No.75-ranked Russian Margarita Gasparyan, posting a 6-3 6-7(1) 6-2 victory in two hours, 39 minutes.

The No.2 seed next faces Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic.

Mladenovic was ruthless in her second round clash with Hungarian Greta Arn, advancing with a 6-0 6-2 victory.

The No.7 seed conceded only 15 points on serve against her 39-year-old opponent, who earlier in the week had scored her first WTA-level win since 2012.

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Mladenovic holds a 2-0 career record against Muguruza. Their most recent meeting was at Roland Garros 2017, when Muguruza’s title defence ended in an emotionally-charged fourth-round match.

Muguruza expressed her disappointment in the French crowd during a tearful post-match press conference, declaring they “should be a little bit more respectful”.

It appeared that frustration also extended to Mladenovic:

That match proved a turning point in their respective 2017 seasons; Muguruza responded to win Wimbledon a few weeks later, while Mladenovic’s confidence crumbled.

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“We’ve known (each other) since we’re very young, in juniors and stuff,” Muguruza said of Mladenovic. “So it’s going to be a good match, I’ve played her before and it’s a good quarterfinal.”

In other results today, fifth seed Victoria Azarenka only needed 67 minutes to book her quarterfinal spot. The former world No.1 posted a 6-3 6-2 win over Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas.

The No.67-ranked Azarenka will aim to reach her first singles semifinal in over a year when she faces four-time Monterrey champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the final eight.

Pavlyuchenkova has been in ruthless form in Monterrey this week, beating Anna Blinkova 6-0 6-3 in the first round before routing Ivana Jorovic 6-0 6-0.

Azarenka has won four of her five matches against Pavlyuchenkova.

“(Pavlyuchenkova) obviously has a lot of success here, likes playing here,” Azarenka said.

“She has big shots, she’s played really well this year, and it’s not an easy opponent, a very aggressive player.”

Top seed Angelique Kerber also advanced with a 6-3 6-4 win over Czech Karolina Muchova.

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