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Qatar Total Open 2020: Ashleigh Barty comes out on top against Garbine Muguruza in three sets

Qatar Total Open 2020 - Day Five
Qatar Total Open 2020 - Day Five
Rudy Martinez
Modified 28 Feb 2020

Checkout: 2020 Qatar Total Open Schedule

Ashleigh Barty found her moment to dictate in the quarter-finals of the Qatar Total Open Friday morning. In a match that started late, she and Garbine Muguruza went the distance that included a second set tiebreak ending in a 6-1, 6-7(4), 6-2 win. The number one seed earned a hard-fought win to advance to the semi-finals at the Khalifa International Tennis Center.

The two hadn’t met in three years, and with the series tied at one apiece, the fight was on. The World No. 1 got a pass in the round of 16 as Elena Rybakina withdrew before their match. With time off to prep against the 11th seed, the Australian had the door open to dictate right away.

That was exactly what she did, as the 23-year-old overcame a short deuce and held the first AD point played. Barty came out with a defensive attack gaining breakpoints that helped her lock down the 2-0 lead. Dominance was starting to grow for the top seed, allowing Muguruza a single point in the third. The Spaniard got on the board in the next game but her opponent brought the heat to the forehand that made it so difficult for Muguruza to return.

The World No. 1’s strategy paid off immensely as she had the 11th seed flustered, cruising to a hold followed by a break. With the 5-1 grip of the set, Barty quickly put the opening set to bed ending 25 minutes. The top seed won 82 percent of points from the first and converted the key breakpoints that put her in a great position. During the set break, Muguruza went for a rare chat with coach Conchita Martinez on how to overcome the slip-up and dictate going forward.

She began with a service hold that lasted five games with a moment in the fifth where Barty’s serve was under pressure. Needing a save to force deuce, the Australian saved two break points before gaining her chance on AD point to lock it down. The vulnerability from the fourth allowed Muguruza to push her opponent to the brink in the sixth, opening to three set points to widen the gap two games.

In retaliation, Barty found her moment to attack Muguruza’s serve that led the two to deuce. After two breaks and four break points produced, the top seed gained back ground, sitting a game down. A service hold brought her to four-all against the Spaniard, but a big hold for Muguruza gave her the 5-4 edge with Barty under pressure. She overcame a 0-30 start and scored an ace on her way to leveling. Two errors from Muguruza gave her opponent life in the set to go deep and prevent the decider.

Barty got the result she wanted but as they went into the tiebreak, the Spaniard got the minibreak and then some. The former world number one was gifted consecutive points giving her a 5-0 lead. Barty rallied to pick up a few points but it wasn’t enough to stop the 11th seed who leveled the match after 58 minutes.

Also Checkout: 2020 Qatar Total Open Results

The third saw the players serve slower than before as the length of the match moved into early Friday morning. Three holds of serve were in the books with Barty leading the way. She added a break of Muguruza but was broken back bringing the Spaniard within reach.

They set changing moment came for the Australian who scored the double against the former world number one. It looked to be coming to an end when Barty recorded her first serve to love in the seventh to go for the match. She faced a short deficit but forced deuce before reaching a match point. It came for the Aussie after a few shots where Muguruza sliced one that fell wide of the court ending her night in 1 hour and 53 minutes.

Published 28 Feb 2020, 03:00 IST
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