Friday, August 18, 2017

Muguruza in, Svitolina out in Cincinnati

After winning the Rogers Cup, Elina Svitolina came to Cincinnati to try her hand at yet another Premier 5 win, and she was looking good until she ran into the (still) in-form Julia Goerges, who defeated the 5th seed today in the third round. Goerges, when she's in the form she's been in lately, is a trickster with flowing power, especially from her signature forehand. She beat Svitolina in Fed Cup play this year, and did it again today.

This time, the German player needed only two sets to get the job done. She had first and second serve percentages of 66 and 72, and she saved all eight break points against her. Goerges's 7-5, 6-4 victory puts her into the quarterfinals, in which she'll face Sloane Stephens. Earlier in the tournament, Goerges upset 10th seed Aga Radwanska.

Stephens, who is suddenly on quite a roll, took out Ekaterina Makarova in a hard-fought three-set match. Makarova saved two match points, but Stephens prevailed.

World number 1 Karolina Pliskova advanced to the quarterfinals with a victory over Camila Giorgi. In doing so, the Long Tall One retains her number 1 ranking, provided Simona Halep doesn't win the title.

And then there were Svetlana Kuznetsova and Garbine Muguruza, who put on a show on Center Court for two hours and 46 minutes (because that's how Sveta rolls) in their quarterfinal match. The Spaniard, wearing a black kit and a displaying a black ribbon on her visor, opened the match with a break and took the first set 6-2. The second set looked, at first, like it was going to be a repeat of the first, as Muguruza immediately went up 3-1. But the Russian star, who is nothing if not tenacious, had other plans.

Kuznetsova broke Muguruza three times, and finally found herself in the lead at 5-4. She would go on to win the set at 7-5. The third set was a show it itself, with Muguruza saving three match points, just as she had done the day before against Madison Keys. Muguruza broke Kuznetsova in a very long game when the Russian star served at 5-all, then closed on her second match point.

Muguruza called the match "probably one of the best matches of the year." Now in the semifinals, teh Spanish star will face either Pliskova or Caroline Wozniacki. Last year, Muguruza was defeated in straight sets in the semifinals by Pliskova, who would go on to win the tournament.

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