Match reports

Muguruza ousts Azarenka to book last eight meeting with Halep

This content was published 3 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali d’Italia.

Garbine Muguruza recovered from a set and a break down to outlast Victoria Azarenka in a thrilling three-set encounter on Court Pietrangeli and book her spot in the last four.

The Spaniard continued her impressive form in 2020, outlasting Azarenka 3-6 6-3 6-4 in two hours 21 minutes to set up a semi-final clash against top seed Simona Halep.

Some pulsating tennis ensued in the first set as the two players pummelled groundstrokes from the baseline. They both had chances to break – Muguruza in the third and fifth games and Azarenka in the fourth – but it was the Belarusian who took her opportunity, capitalising when Muguruza sent a forehand long and then winning five points on the trot to open up a 4-1 lead. The single break remained enough for world No.14 as she took the opener 6-3 after 48 minutes.

The ability to hold serve became a rarity in the second set as the players recorded seven breaks of serve in nine games. Muguruza, who was beginning to find her range and come forward more, was the first to hold and edged ahead 4-2. Her opponent’s serving woes continued – she was unable to hold throughout the second set – giving up another service game in the eighth game to put the set out of reach.

No one was able to take command of the third set and another five breaks of serve were recorded. The quality ebbed and flowed throughout the set but it was Muguruza who was the fresher player, growing in confidence as the match neared its conclusion and taking the victory as Azarenka, who had won 13 of her last 14 matches coming into this match, netted a backhand.

“I think it was a tough match. I knew it was going to be a tough match. She’s a good player, she’s playing good, she’s with a lot of confidence. I knew it was going to be a tough battle. Yeah, I was ready for it. I stood behind her and waiting for my opportunities. She was playing great at the beginning,” said Muguruza.

“She took the first set. I kept myself together and said, Okay, let’s start another battle in the second set, you know. Yeah, I was in the right place when the opportunity came and I took it. At the end of third set it was just a matter of one-game difference. I’m happy I played the right shots and I stood aggressive. I went for the match the whole time. Never felt down. Yeah, I went for the match.”

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