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Shenzhen Open 2020: Garbine Muguruza etches out late win over Zarina Diyas

  • The Spaniard relied on aces to get her out of trouble in tricky encounter.
Rudy Martinez
Modified 09 Jan 2020, 13:27 IST

Garbine Muguruza
Garbine Muguruza

Garbine Muguruza squeaked out of trouble late at the Shenzhen Open Thursday. The Spaniard had a fight on her hands with Zarina Diyas who competed on every point but went down 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 on Center Court at the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Centre. The Spaniard sits two away from a championship due to her ability to fight on.

The two met for the first time with the Kazak facing a sizeable opponent. After defeating Anna Blinkova in the round of 16, the 27-year-old got a shot at a former world number one and a spot in the semifinals. Muguruza played well at the start of her match with Shelby Rogers and held her end late in a second set tiebreak. Hoping to take down Diyas in a similar way, the Spaniard needed consistency to remain with her to achieve her mission.

A break from the Spaniard was a great way to get the match started, but mistakes on serve in the second only leveled the score. Giving Diyas too much room, the Spaniard went down on breakpoints. Diyas got them back on service holds, but each challenged the other through the next three games. After one more hard-fought game, Muguruza leveled the score at three-all before blanking Diyas in the seventh with a surge of groundstrokes for the double break.

Just when it looked as if the Spaniard would run away with the set, Diyas invested a lot of power to fight her through deuce. After four breaks, the victory went to Muguruza who took a 5-3 lead. Diyas pulled off a sudden shutout of Muguruza but may have overexerted in her efforts. Before playing on, the Kazak called out the trainer to deal with a lower-body injury she was having. After the medical timeout with the physiotherapist, play resumed with Muguruza reaching set point at 40-30 to catch Diyas on the wrong foot, putting the first away in 53 minutes.

Diyas survived her service to open the second set running through five breaks with Muguruza before court positioning and crosscourt shots paid off. In a sudden show of force, the Kazak got ahead and broke Muguruza in the second. The 26-year-old tried battling her opponent back in the third, but efforts were short blowing the first AD point and never getting another try. It was 4-0 in favor of Diyas, who completed the double break making a statement of her dug in for a third set.

Muguruza found a way to end the shutout in the fifth before taking a conference with coach and tennis legend Conchita Martinez. Adjustments were made by the Spaniard going forward, but it was too little too late as Diyas kept the edge to win 6-2 in 38 minutes. The Kazak’s first serve percentage outdid Muguruza’s, but consistency wasn’t her forte.

The Spaniard came out into the third breaking Diyas before scoring a hat-trick of aces on serve to quickly put away the second. Diyas got on the board with a pair of aces in the third, but the two-game margin was restored by the former world number one throwing Diyas off her game. It was only for the moment as the 27-year-old fought to stay within reach of the lead with a hold of serve.

It stayed that way till the eighth when Diyas overcame a short deficit to level at four-all for the break. Muguruza answered back with a break to love, jumping to a 5-4 chance at serving for the match. With big swings for winners, the Spaniard had two match points to take the victory on a cross-court ace completed in two hours and ten minutes.

"I think Zarina came in the second set playing much better," said Muguruza "So I was expecting a very tough match and at the end it was tough match and im happy with these kind of victories."
Published 09 Jan 2020, 13:27 IST
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