Garbine Muguruza Defeats Simona Halep to Reach First Australian Open Final

Garbine Muguruzais one win away from her third Grand Slamtitle…

In a battle of former World No. 1 players, the 26-year-old Spanish-Venezuelan tennis playerbeat No. 4 seed Simona Halepin straight sets on Thursday to reach the Australian Openfinal for the first time.

Garbine Muguruza

Muguruza’s 7-6 (8), 7-5 victory sends her to the title match against 14th-seeded Sofia Keninof the United States. Kenin beat No. 1 Ash Barty7-6 (6), 7-5.

Muguruza, unseeded at Melbourne Park, fended off four set points in the opener of her semifinal and wound up defeating Halep in a matchup of players who’ve won Wimbledonand the French Openbut not the Australian Open.

It was a streaky contest: Muguruza led 5-3 in the first set before Halep took 15 of 17 points to earn a pair of set points. Muguruza then took seven consecutive points. And so on, until Halep put a shot in the net to relinquish that set, then smashed her racket and sat on the sideline, shaking her head.

“I wasn’t thinking I was down,” Muguruza said. “You keep going.”Muguruza may have won the French Open in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2017, but she came to Melbourne Park as an unseeded player at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in six years.

Garbine Muguruza Reaches First-Ever Australian Open Semifinals

Garbine Muguruzais back in a Grand Slamsemifinal…

The 26-year-old Spanish-Venezuelan tennis player and former world No. 1 defeated No. 30 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 6-3 to reach the semifinals at the Australian Open for the first time in her career.

Garbine Muguruza

Muguruza, a two-time Grand Slam champion, took a little more than 1 1/2 hours to eliminate Pavlyuchenkova, with both players struggling with their serves with the sun shining brightly at one end. 

It’s Muruguza’s first spot in a Grand Slamsemifinal since Roland Garrosin ’18.

After struggling for form following her 2017 Wimbledontriumph, Muguruza has looked like a player reborn at Melbourne Parksince reuniting with former coach Conchita Martinez.

Last November, Muguruza climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and got away from it all. She didn’t want to dwell on two relatively barren seasons since her Wimbledon win in 2017.

Her time on the mountain was “definitely was a life-changing experience,” Murgurza said, although she couldn’t explain how because it’s too complicated in a tournament environment.

“But it definitely had an impact on me, not as a tennis player, but just in general,” she said. “Being through such a tough challenge, I think, yeah, did many things inside of me.”

She’ll next face Simona Halep, both have already won at Wimbledon and the French Openand have been ranked No. 1, and are bidding for their first Grand Slam title on a hard court.

Garbine Muguruza Defeats Maria Sharapova to Reach French Open Semifinals

Garbine Muguruza moved a step closer to regaining the French Open title by beating two-time winner Maria Sharapova in a one-sided quarterfinal.

The 24-year-old Spanish tennis player, the third seed at Roland Garros and a winner in Paris in 2016, dominated from the start and ended the Russian’s hopes with a 6-2 6-1 victory in 70 minutes.

Garbine Muguruza

Muguruza, the reigning Wimbledon champion, has not dropped a set at the tournament.

She will play world number one Simona Halep in the last four after the Romanian beat German Angelique Kerber.

Both Muguruza and Halep, who is searching for her first Grand Slam title, could finish the tournament as the world number one.

“I was up against a great player so I had to make sure I brought my best tennis,” said Muguruza.

“I wasn’t thinking so much about the result. I was just thinking about not dropping my level, not giving her a single point, and I guess that helped my performance.”

Sharapova, back on the Paris clay after a two-year absence, admitted she had been outplayed but was pleased with her overall performance at the year’s second major.

“Coming into this part of the year, I was losing a few first-round matches, matches that I wanted to be winning,” she said.

“But to have had the victories that I have had, obviously things are moving a step in the right direction, but today was certainly not one of those steps.”

Rafael Nadal Named the International Tennis Federation’s Player of the Year

The 2017 tennis season may be over, but Rafael Nadal is still winning…

The 31-year-old Spanish tennis star has won the International Tennis Federation‘s male Player of the Year award.

Rafael Nadal

At 31, Nadal becomes the oldest ITF men’s world champion after a season in which he won a 10th French Open and a third US Open.

Nadal also became the oldest player to finish the year at No. 1 since the ATP rankings began in 1973.

But Nadal isn’t the only Latino award winner…

Garbine Muguruza was named the International Tennis Federation’s female Player of the Year.

The Spanish-Venezuelan professional tennis player and former world No. 1 dropped only one set en route to her first Wimbledon title and finished the year at No. 2 behind Simona Halep.

“Becoming ITF world champion in such a competitive year is amazing for me,” said Muguruza, who is also Spanish. “(Nadal) is a great role model for all of us, so it is a great moment for tennis in Spain.”

Caroline Garcia Advances to Seminals at the WTA Finals

Caroline Garcia is making the most of her first WTA Finals appearance…

In her WTA Finals debut, the 26-year-old part-Spanish player advanced to the semifinals on Friday when top-ranked Simona Halep lost to Elina Svitolina.

Caroline Garcia

Garcia defeated Caroline Wozniacki 0-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the early Red Group match, giving both 2-1 records. Wozniacki had already advanced, but Garcia had to wait. When Svitolina beat Halep 6-3, 6-4 later in the day, the top-ranked Romanian was eliminated and Garcia was through as the group winner.

In the semifinals, Garcia will play Venus Williams and Wozniacki will face Karolina Pliskova.

Garcia, playing at a career-high No. 8 ranking after winning back-to-back titles in Wuhan and Beijing, is the only one of the eight players who didn’t have a chance to end the season with the top ranking.

“It was kind of weird, actually, to be here,” Garcia said. “I qualified last minute, two weeks before. I really wanted to keep improving, play every single match and get experience. That’s why I think I won these two matches.

Garbine Muguruza Wins Her First Western & Southern Open Title

Garbine Muguruza has claimed her first title in the United States…

The 23-year-old Spanish-Venezuelan tennis player added another trophy in her breakthrough summer, beating Simona Halep on Sunday for her first Western & Southern Open title.

Garbine Muguruza

Muguruza’s 6-1, 6-0 win in only 56 minutes extended her streak of playing deep into tournaments and denied Halep a chance to claim the No. 1 spot in the next WTA rankings.

Muguruza won her first title in the U.S. and her second of the year, after defeating Venus Williams at Wimbledon earlier this summer. In three tournaments since, she has at least reached the quarterfinals.

Muguruza broke Halep to go up 2-0 in the first set and was in control. Halep won only 12 points in the set, which lasted 23 minutes. Muguruza broke her again to open the second set and faced only two break points all match.

When it ended, Muguruza congratulated Halep and walked around the court with her smiling face cradled in both hands, taking it all in. Then she put her hands over her heart and reached toward the applauding crowd.

The women’s bracket was missing Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova. Muguruza knocked off defending champion Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 6-2 in the semifinals.

Garbine Muguruza Upsets Karolina Pliskova to Reach Western & Southern Open Final

Garbine Muguruza has taken down the world No. 1 to reach her first Western & Southern Open final.

The 23-year-old Spanish-Venezuelan tennis player and reigning Wimbledon champion beat World No. 1 Karolina Pliskova to secure a place in Sunday’s final of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, where she’ll take on No. 2 seed Simona Halep.

Garbine Muguruza

Muguruza came through 6-3, 6-2, having set the tone after breaking Pliskova in the very first game.

Muguruza kept the pressure on Pliskova’s serve, securing a key break to lead 4-2 in the second set before closing out victory in one hour and 21 minutes after taking a fifth match-point chance against the top seed.

Halep, meanwhile, could take over from Pliskova at the top of the WTA rankings if she’s able to win the tournament.

Halep had to battle past British No. 1 Johanna Konta 6-4, 7-6 (7/1) in their quarterfinal, which lasted almost two hours.

However, Halep coasted through the second semifinal with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Sloane Stephens in just 56 minutes.

Suarez Navarro Defeats Simona Halep to Reach Italian Open Final

Carla Suarez Navarro is one win away from an Italian affair to remember…

The 26-year-old Spanish tennis player beat Romania’s Simona Halep 2-6 6-3 7-5 at the Italian Open to reach her ninth career final.

Carla Suarez Navarro

“It was such a tough match from a physical standpoint,” Suarez Navarro told SuperTennis TV. “The biggest improvement I’ve made this year is in my mind.”

Suarez Navarro, who leads the tour this year in wins with 31, won the opening two games but once Halep settled down she started to dominate the rallies with her precise ground strokes.

Halep reeled off six straight games to take the opening set.

An easy miss off of a bounced overhead in the third game of the following set seemed to rattle Halep’s confidence as she became more tentative, especially on her forehand.

Suarez Navarro took advantage to take the lead as Halep’s frustration became clearly visible after she cracked her racket in distress in the sixth game.

With more time to hit, the Spaniard forced a decider repeatedly running Halep around the court with her breath-taking one-handed backhand.

Neither player could hold serve in the first eight games of the decider before Halep led to lead 5-4.

Suarez Navarro then got her service game together and after breaking again to lead 6-5, finally got over the line with her third match point.

“Her style is to hit the ball very high. It disturbs me, and I couldn’t hit anymore in the third set,” Halep said.

She’ll next face two-time Rome champion Maria Sharapova, who reached the final by overpowering qualifier Daria Gavrilova 7-5, 6-3 in an all-Russian matchup.

Suárez Navarro Makes History While Reaching the Internazionali BNL d’Italia Semifinals

It could turn out to be a special year for Carla Suárez Navarro

The 26-year-old Spanish tennis player continued her impressive start to the season by defeating No.4 seed Petra Kvitova, 6-3, 6-2, in the quarterfinals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

Carla Suárez Navarro

By outplaying Kvitova, Suárez Navarro became the first player to reach 30 wins in 2015.

“I think that I played really solid. But sometimes I was aggressive, which is important against Petra because she hits the ball so well,” Suárez Navarro said. “I was focused on my game and fighting for each point.”

The measured approach paid immediate dividends, as Kvitova coughed up a succession of early errors to surrender her serve in the opening game. Suárez Navarro held onto the advantage to take the first set before taking complete control with a run of four straight games to start the second.

Kvitova staged a late rally, reducing her arrears to 4-2. But there was to be no denying the Spaniard, who saved the best for last, wrapping up her victory with a deft stop volley and a trademark backhand pass down the line.

Suárez Navarro’s recent run has catapulted her into the Top 10, a success story she attributes to a change in mentality, rather than any technical tinkering.

“I’m playing much more aggressive now. I am also feeling much more confident and just enjoying every match I play,” she added.

In the semifinals she will face No.2 seed Simona Halep, a player she has not beaten in nearly two years.

“It will be tough because she’s playing amazingly,” Suárez Navarro said. “Always when we play we have long rallies, long matches. But you never know. I need to be 100% and it will be tough, for sure.”

Muguruza Pulls Off Upset Win Over Simona Halep at Wuhan Open

Garbine Muguruza’s list of upset victories is growing…

The 20-year-old half-Spanish-half-Venezuelan tennis player stunned second-seeded Simona Halep by beating her at China’s Wuhan Open on Tuesday, coming back for a 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory in the second round.

Garbine Muguruza

Muguruza, who beat top-ranked Serena Williams in the second round at this year’s French Open, dropped the first set in 35 minutes but won the first four games of the second set and the last four games of the third to advance at the inaugural tournament.

Muguruza, currently ranked No. 22 in the world, next faces Elina Svitolina in the third round.