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Australian Open 2020: Reborn Muguruza masters Pavlyuchenkova en route to semis

By Sacha Pisani At Melbourne Park
Muguruza

Melbourne, January 29: Garbine Muguruza's renaissance continued after the two-time grand slam champion overcame Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5 6-3 to reach the Australian Open semi-final.

Unseeded for the first time at a slam since 2014, Muguruza has looked a rejuvenated force in Melbourne following her reunion with former coach Conchita Martinez – the pair split in 2018 following the Spanish star's 2017 Wimbledon triumph.

And former world number one Muguruza moved through to her first major semi-final since the 2018 French Open thanks to Wednesday's hard-fought win against 30th seed Pavlyuchenkova.

Muguruza will now face 2018 runner-up Simona Halep for a place in the women's decider.

Holds of serve were at a premium from the outset in Melbourne as Muguruza – back in the Australian Open quarter-finals for the first time since 2017 – and Pavlyuchenkova traded breaks in sunny conditions.

Pavlyuchenkova – on a giant-slaying mission after stunning 2016 champion Angelique Kerber and second seed Karolina Pliskova en route to the quarters – claimed the first break in the third game. A double-fault handing the Russian an early 2-1 lead, which set the tone for an absorbing and topsy-turvy contest.

Double-faults were a theme after Pavlyuchenkova handed Muguruza the opportunity to break back immediately following a tense battle at the net, before the latter fended off a break point chance to hold for a 3-2 advantage.

Proving difficult on serve, breaks continued to come and go until Muguruza bucked the trend by holding serve with a powerful winner down the line in the 11th game and a double-fault gifted the Spaniard the chance to close out the 56-minute set on her opponent's racquet and she duly converted.

The second set followed a similar pattern, with three breaks of serve after five in a tense opener.

But most importantly, Muguruza claimed two of those – the decisive break coming to love in the sixth game – as the 26-year-old progressed to her maiden semi in Melbourne.

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Muguruza bt Pavlyuchenkova [30] 7-5 6-3

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Muguruza – 21/21

Pavlyuchenkova – 18/26

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Muguruza – 6/4

Pavlyuchenkova – 4/8

BREAK POINTS WON

Muguruza – 5/7

Pavlyuchenkova – 3/6

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE

​Muguruza – 56

Pavlyuchenkova – 67

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE

Muguruza – 75/39

Pavlyuchenkova – 64/14

TOTAL POINTS

Muguruza – 71

Pavlyuchenkova – 56

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Story first published: Wednesday, January 29, 2020, 9:00 [IST]
Other articles published on Jan 29, 2020
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