Majestic Muguruza advances, Kvitova gets reprieve
By John O'Brien
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Garbine Muguruza continued her dream debut at the WTA Finals by completing round robin play with a perfect 3-0 record to advance to the semi-finals after a hard fought 6-4 4-6 7-5 victory over Petra Kvitova on Friday.
By topping the White Group, the Spaniard set up a showdown against Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska while Kvitova (1-2) received a huge boost from her Czech Fed Cup team mate Lucie Safarova (1-2), who beat Angelique Kerber to help her advance.
Germany's Kerber (1-2) only needed to win a set in Friday's second match to move on but the already-eliminated Safarova (1-2) found her best form of the week to blast the German off the court and out of the eight-woman event with a 6-4 6-3 win.
Kerber's loss was Kvitova's gain and the double Wimbledon champion claimed second place in the group courtesy of sets won to book a last four berth against Red Group winner Maria Sharapova.
While her rivals were left scratching their heads and fretting over the various permutations, Muguruza was spared the agony of relying on others by claiming a third straight triumph.
"It's amazing to reach the semi-finals," Wimbledon finalist Muguruza said in a courtside interview. "To be here is a great payoff for an amazing year and hopefully I can continue winning and playing like this."
The Spanish right-hander had grown accustomed to facing left-handers in a group containing a trio of southpaws and the recent China Open winner edged ahead in the middle of a tense first set then raced through the eighth game to move 5-3 up.
Kvitova sent down back-to-back aces to ensure Muguruza would need to serve for the set and the world number three duly obliged to claim the set she needed to ensure she would at least advance from the pool as a top-two finisher. Continued...