Sports

Garbine Muguruza ends Anett Kontaveit’s 12-match win streak to secure WTA Finals semi-final spot


Garbine Muguruza beat Anett Kontaveit 6-4 6-4 at the WTA Finals to progress – alongside Kontaveit – to the semi-final stage of the season finale in Guadalajara.

Estonian player Kontaveit was guaranteed a semi-final spot ahead of the match after Karolina Pliskova’s three-set come-from-behind win over Barbora Krejcikova on Sunday.

The former world number one Muguruza will face compatriot Paula Badosa on Tuesday night after finishing second behind Kontaveit in the Teotihuacán group. That means Spain will have a player in the WTA Finals final for the first time since Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in 1993.

“This is amazing. I didn’t know all of this history,” Muguruza said. “I was born in 1993.”

“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.”

Kontaveit was the tour’s form player heading into the match. She dominated Muguruza 6-1 6-1 at the quarter-final stage on her way to winning the Kremlin Cup, then beat Simona Halep to win the Transylvania Open and opened her WTA finals run with wins against Pliskova and Krejcikova. However, after Pliskova’s win, former world number one Muguruza’s task was clear: beat Kontaveit to progress to the semi-finals.

And the Spanish player secured breaks of serve in the first game of both sets to move to a 3-2 record against Kontaveit and set up a first-ever meeting with Badosa. The world number eight Kontaveit would apply pressure to Muguruza as the Spaniard served for each set, fashioning breakback points, but the 28-year-old Muguruza was ruthless, requiring just one set and then match point to seal victory.

Next up for Muguruza is Badosa, who is the only confirmed qualifier from a Chichén-Itzá group also containing Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka and Maria Sakkari.

“I’ve been very happy for her,” Muguruza said of Badosa.

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.

“She’s always had the talent. I think now she’s putting the puzzle together. She’s playing great. Everybody can see it.”

The match was Kontaveit’s first in the evening session and she noted in her post-match remarks that she struggled with line and length due to the conditions, but was very happy overall.

“I think I played a very good two matches,” Kontaveit said.

“I have a lot to learn from today’s match. I mean, I’m very happy that I managed to get to the semi-finals. I haven’t played many round-robin tournaments before other than Zhuhai. Zhuhai didn’t go so well for me, so I’m definitely very excited to be through, get two matches in two sets against the top players in the world. I think I have to be very happy about that.

“If I happen to play at night again, I’ll definitely have to go out there and just practise and work on that length issue that I had today, and just try to fix whatever I was doing for the next match.”



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