Svitolina stuns Pliskova to set up semi against Muguruza

Elina Svitolina recorded her first victory over Karolina Pliskova when she defeated the Czech 62 76(9) to reach the semifinals at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia for the first time. She will face Venus Williams’ conqueror Garbine Muguruza in the last four.

Svitolina had lost all four of her previous tour-level meetings against the world No. 2 but needed just 92 minutes to emerge victorious from this one and extend her winning run against top 5 opponents in 2017 to four.

The Ukrainian was ruthless in the opening set, allowing her opponent to hold serve just once as she raced to take the first set in under 30 minutes. Pliskova played better in the second set, recovering from 0-2 down and breaking her opponent a further two times in a tight set which saw her serve to take it to a decider at 5-4. Svitolina struck back to force a tiebreak during which the pair couldn’t be separated. Pliskova had three set points but was unable to convert any of them and it was Svitolina who took her chance on her second match point.

Muguruza needed three sets to find a way past No. 9 seed Venus Williams 62 36 62. The reigning Roland Garros champion started the match hitting very cleanly and took advantage of the errors and loose shots coming from the American’s racquet to claim the first set 6-2.

Williams regrouped in the second set and started piling the pressure on her opponent’s serve, pouncing on an opportunity to break in the sixth game when the Spaniard’s formed dipped momentarily. The break was enough to secure the set and force a decider.

After an early exchange of breaks in the third set it was Muguruza who was the more consistent player. The Spaniard capitalised on a poor service game from Williams, which included two double faults, to get a break advantage at 3-1, a lead which she never relinquished.

It was a first victory for Muguruza over Williams in her fourth attempt.