Defending champion Garbine Muguruza returned to the semifinals in Monterrey with a win over Kristina Mladenovic.
Muguruza led the Frenchwoman 6-1 5-1 before eventually holding on to win 6-1 7-6(5).
— WTA (@WTA) April 6, 2019
It was her first victory over Mladenovic in three career matches, their first clash since an drama-charged fourth-round meeting at Roland Garros two years ago.
At one stage, Mladenovic won five games in a row, but could not capitalise when she served for the second set leading 6-5.
Muguruza broke back, and eventually converted in the tiebreak on her sixth match point, after missing two match-point opportunities in the eighth game and another two in the 10th game.
“Being calm, having good tactics and being competitive [was the key today],” said Muguruza, who twice failed to serve out the match in the second set.
“It’s a great position to come here defending the title. It’s a good feeling, pressure at the same time, but I’m in the semifinals, so it’s going well.”
All week in Monterrey, Muguruza has had to battle; she was stretched to a second-set tiebreak against Romanian lucky loser Elena-Gabriela Ruse in round before a three-set tussle in the last 16 against Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan.
In the semifinals she will face Magdalena Rybarikova, who earlier on Friday beat Sachia Vickery in straight sets.
Muguruza has thumped Rybarikova in their last two meetings; after winning 6-1 6-1 in the Wimbledon semifinals of 2017, she dished out exactly the same scoreline to the Slovak in the third round of the US Open two months later.
In the other half of the draw, No.1 seed Angelique Kerber currently leads Belgian Kirsten Flipkens by a set and a break.
The winner of that match will play either former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka or four-time Monterrey champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the semifinals.
Azarenka and Pavlyuchenkova are scheduled to play in Friday’s late-night match on centre court.
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