Shenzhen Open 2020: Ekaterina Alexandrova beats Garbine Muguruza in straight sets
Garbine Muguruza met her match at the Shenzhen Open Friday. High-intensity shots from the racquet of Ekaterina Alexandrova proved too much to handle as the Russian won in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 on Centre Court.
In the process, the Russian advanced to a championship final for the first time since 2018.
Muguruza was on a solid run in Shenzhen, and looked ready to make her way to Saturday’s final. Standing in her way was the Russian who she had defeated in the first round of Wimbledon before winning the title in 2017.
The 25-year-old Alexandrova had gone the distance against Qiang Wang, overcoming a first-set loss. Two matches away from a second career title, the world number 34 knew she had to step up and bring her best against Muguruza.
The Russian controlled the opening set with great groundstrokes, finding the open court with regularity. Muguruza held serve in the second game but Alexandrova was all over her in the rallies.
She continued to fight for a break chance, but the 26-year-old Spaniard refused to give her one. They played five games on serve until mistakes from the Spaniard handed the Russian break point. The 4-2 lead came on a wide forehand from Muguruza, giving Alexandrova the momentum.
The Russian then launched an ace between a pair of winners that put her up 5-2. Some big serving helped Muguruza hold in the eighth, but Alexandrova seemed determined to stay the course.
Forcing mistakes from her opponent, the Russian soon had three set points. But she let them all slip away, and two more unforced errors allowed the former World No. 1 to get back into the set.
With her unforced errors rattling the Russian, Muguruza would have thought she had a window of opportunity. But Alexandrova channeled her frustration to turn things around in time, with a sliced winner hitting the line. She fought through deuce and on the second break point, she clinched a fifth set point to end it in 39 minutes.
As the second set got underway, Alexandrova charged through for a hold in the opening game, and a break in the very next one. It was 3-0 in favor of the Russian before Muguruza ended the shutout in the fourth, but the effort was not enough.
The 25-year-old won the next two games swiftly before serving for the match in the seventh. It was then that Muguruza had a break back chance, and she got it on a big groundstroke from Alexandrova that went long.
With one of the two breaks retrieved, the Spaniard would have thought she was back into the contest. A strong effort from Alexandrova forced deuce, but after seven breaks points, she netted one into the net to give Muguruza a lifeline.
However, the fifth seed had one more chance to get it done on serve in the ninth. And with three winners, she set up multiple match points - one of which she converted to knock out the Spaniard in 1 hour and 16 minutes.Published 10 Jan 2020, 17:02 IST