WTA Stanford: Muguruza continues imperious form, rolls past Konjuh into final four

Top seed Garbiñe Muguruza continued her fine form in a ruthless display of first-strike tennis Friday afternoon at the Bank of the West Classic, dropping just four games to fifth seed Ana Konjuh to reach the semifinals.

WTA Stanford: Muguruza continues imperious form, rolls past Konjuh into final four
Garbiñe Muguruza hits a forehand during her quarterfinal match against Ana Konjuh at the 2017 Bank of the West Classic. | Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Garbiñe Muguruza
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Ana Konjuh

Top seed Garbiñe Muguruza continued her imperious form at the Bank of the West Classic Friday afternoon, needing just 62 minutes to roll past fifth seed Ana Konjuh, 6-1, 6-3, to book her place in the final four.

Muguruza Blitzes Konjuh for One-Set Lead

After a very impressive return to action against American Kayla Day on Wednesday evening, Muguruza seemed to pick up right where she left off, sprinting out of the gates to jump out to a commanding 4-0 lead before Konjuh was able to stop the bleeding with a comfortable hold of her own.

Garbiñe Muguruza follows through on a forehand during her quarterfinal match at the 2017 Bank of the West Classic. | Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Garbiñe Muguruza follows through on a forehand during her quarterfinal match at the 2017 Bank of the West Classic. | Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

But from there, Muguruza only seemed to up the ante as she continued to cruise through the opener, eventually sealing it on her third set point in the seventh game as another error flew off the racquet of Konjuh, drawing the curtain on a rather one-sided opening set.

Muguruza Survives Early Charge to See off Konjuh in Straights

The second set was a much closer affair as Konjuh finally began to show some of the form that saw her make the last eight at Flushing Meadows last year, going toe-to-toe with Muguruza from the back of the court once again but this time being able to hold her own, particularly off the backhand side.

Ana Konjuh hits a backhand during her quarterfinal match at the 2017 Bank of the West Classic. | Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Ana Konjuh hits a backhand during her quarterfinal match at the 2017 Bank of the West Classic. | Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After four tightly contested games to start the second, which were split between the two, it was Muguruza who would raise the stakes once more, raising her level ever so slightly after a vital hold in the fifth game to secure the first break of the second in the following game, one that would later prove decisive for the two-time Grand Slam champion.

While Konjuh did what she could to hang in with the world number four, she just couldn’t seem to find any answers to Muguruza’s serve as the Spaniard would easily consolidate the break before later using her single-break advantage to eventually close out the match at 5-3, finishing the match with some stellar defence, one of the many improved assets of her game of late.

Garbiñe Muguruza stretches to hit a backhand during her quarterfinal match at the 2017 Bank of the West Classic. | Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Garbiñe Muguruza stretches to hit a backhand during her quarterfinal match at the 2017 Bank of the West Classic. | Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

“I think today I was very accurate. Ana is such a powerful player and super young, [so] I knew I had to be concentrated,” Muguruza told interviewer Andrew Krasny in her on-court interview. “I’m super happy that I’m… through to the semifinals, and I’m pretty happy with the match.”

Stats Corner: Muguruza’s Consistency the Biggest Difference in Hard-Hitting Affair

In another very impressive performance to pick up her ninth win in a row, Muguruza was at her clinical best for most of the match, maintaining a high 69 percent first-serve percentage and winning a commanding 82 percent of the points behind her first delivery. Additionally, she picked her times well to attack Konjuh’s game, maintaining a steady 17 to 13 winner-to-unforced-error differential while the Croat ended with a differential of -5 (15-20) and never really found her form apart from that early mini-battle to start the second.

Garbiñe Muguruza waves to the crowd after defeating Ana Konjuh in the quarterfinals of the 2017 Bank of the West Classic. | Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Garbiñe Muguruza waves to the crowd after defeating Ana Konjuh in the quarterfinals of the 2017 Bank of the West Classic. | Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

“I knew… I had to match her, be aggressive as well. I’m happy that I did it, and that it didn’t turn bad in the second set,” Muguruza said. “I think she served a little bit better and did less mistakes… found more the court, hit pretty good shots and made the match a little bit more equal. It was a little tougher in the second set.”

Next Up for Muguruza: Madison Keys

Standing in the top seed’s way of extending her winning streak to 10 matches is American Madison Keys, who has reached her first semifinal since last October in what has been a disappointing 2017 season so far by her standards. In their only previous meeting, it was Keys who topped Muguruza in straight sets at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia last year, just before the Spaniard’s championship-winning run at Roland Garros.


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