Garbine Muguruza completed a Middle East double over Caroline Garcia, defeating the Frenchwoman for a second time in seven days to reach the semi-finals in Dubai on Thursday.
Muguruza had come back from a set down to beat Garcia in the Doha quarter-finals last week, but this time was more clinical in her victory, that was briefly interrupted by light rain surprising the crowd in a typically dry Dubai.
Garcia entered her Dubai quarter-final showdown with Muguruza having held 18 of her 20 service games throughout the week but the French No. 5 seed dropped serve late in the opening set to fall behind and ultimately lost the clash 7-5, 6-2 committing a slew of unforced errors.
The third-ranked Muguruza had finished her previous match against Catherine “CiCi” Bellis just 17 hours earlier, at 2:00am but managed to recover in time for her triumph over Garcia.
“I was a little bit upset because, you know, you can play late, but it was very late. I ended up sleeping at 4:00am, there’s nothing to eat…” explained the Spaniard, who next takes on Russia’s Daria Kasatkina in Friday’s semi-finals.
“Today I somehow fought with a little bit of the tiredness yesterday. That’s it. One day is going to go my way, one day is going to go against me.”
Muguruza says she had asked to play on another court after the Centre Court matches all lasted longer than expected.
“I think it’s just TV. Obviously nobody thought that all the matches were going to be two hours and a half. But, yeah, they gave me that answer,” she added.
Speaking of her quarter-final success over Garcia, Muguruza said: “I felt much better this match than the match we played in Doha. It’s always difficult because we played almost in the same week twice. When you play a top-10 player, and you beat second time in a row, it gives you a good sign that what I’m doing is right.”
Kasatkina, who saved two match points against Johanna Konta in the second round on Wednesday, reached the semi-finals with a 7-6 (5), 6-1 win over her fellow Russian Elena Vesnina, whom she calls her “Tennis Mama”.
The 20-year-old became the first Russian to make the Dubai semi-finals since Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2011.
This is Kasatkina’s second semi-final of the season, having also reached that stage at St. Petersburg earlier this month.
She trails Muguruza 0-2 head-to-head but their most recent meeting, in Brisbane in 2017, was a close encounter that ended 7-6 in the third the Spaniard’s way.
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