WTA Finals 2021, Guadalajara: The machine finally stops. Anett Kontaveit’s 12 matches winning streak ends as Muguruza takes charge in straight-set domination, 6-4, 6-4.
With this win, Muguruza qualifies for the semifinals and will face countrywoman Paula Badosa on Tuesday. The victor will be the first Spanish woman to advance to the finals since Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario finished as runner-up in 1993.
“This is amazing. I didn’t know all of this history,” Muguruza said. “1993, I was born that year.”
“It’s amazing there are four players left and two of them are Spaniards. I mean, that just shows that Spain has a great level of tennis and a great school. It’s going to be a fun match. It’s like you said, historical. Hopefully, the crowd is going to be on the match. Whoever plays better is going to get the final.”
Anett Kontaveit was undefeated coming to the match without losing any sets. With Pliskova winning in three sets the Estonian’s top spot was booked whatever the result.
“Today was a match that was kind of everything or nothing,” Muguruza said. “Starting the round-robin with a loss, it was never good. To finally get two wins and qualify was amazing. Today I think I played the best match out of the three. Cutting this long run from Anett, I was like, Okay, is it going to be me the one to stop her?”
Muguruza was getting a better result in the night matches having played two three-setters against Pliskova and Krejcikova. The condition was familiar and it paid dividends throughout the match.
As Kontaveit struggled to find the measure of the court, Muguruza became the first player to break the Kontaveit serve in Guadalajara, doing so in her opening game. Coming into the match, Kontaveit had faced a total of three break points across her first two matches but faced four in her opening two service games.
“I think Garbine played a great match,” Kontaveit said. “She was very aggressive, just very on it from the first point. I think I made way too many unforced errors. I mean, I don’t think I played a very good match. I just wish I could have done a better job today.”
The first set only lasted for 38 minutes with Kontaveit sending her forehand long when Muguruza was serving for the set. The Spaniard closed the set with 6-4 not wasting the chance.
The Spaniard broke Anett right away in the second set while keeping the Estonian at bay when she served. It was pure domination from Muguruza as she wasn’t faced with any breakpoints in the second set until she was serving for the match.
Kontaveit jumped out to a 0-30 lead and earned breakpoint at 30-40, but Muguruza wiped it out quickly with a clean ace out wide and closed out the match with another unreturnable serve.
“I think it was clear my serve was very important to not get broken, and to break her quite fast in the couple of sets,” Muguruza said. “Just to maintain my serve and to dominate, try to do less mistakes than her also because the conditions are tough.”
The Estonian smashed 17 winners compared to 13 of the Spaniard. However, Serving was the factor that made the difference. Muguruza won 80% of her first serve points compared to Kontaveit’s 66%. The Spaniard also out-aced the Estonian, 7 to 2.
WTA Finals: Pliskova out of semifinals reach despite the win.
Karolina Pliskova pulled off a spirited comeback victory over her compatriot Barbora Krejcikova on Sunday afternoon, in her final match of the season at the Akron WTA Finals.
In the all-Czech affair, No.3 seed Pliskova overcame 2nd-seeded Krejcikova, 0-6, 6-4, 6-4, and improved to 2-1 in the Teotihuacán round-robin group. Krejcikova led by 6-0, 4-2, before Pliskova stormed back to capture the win.
despite the win for Pliskova, she could not qualify for the semifinals while Krejcikova was never going to qualify to lose all three matches.
Pliskova says: “You never want to start a match like this, with my serve and with my game, not to be able to make a game,” Pliskova told the press, after the match. “[It] was a combination of her playing well, me not playing that well.
“But you just go back to really trying to make the simple things with the serve, maybe just to go for the serve which you feel the most confident about. Just to play simple, maybe couple crosscourts, not to go for crazy winners.
“So I just fought hard to give myself a chance, at least to wait, maybe she’s going to miss a couple, because she didn’t really miss anything the first set. It actually happened, of course quite late. But happy I stayed in there and just waited for the chance.
“With [coach] Sascha [Bajin], things are going great. Of course, we’re set for next season, which is amazing for me. I hope also for him. I thought we had a great year. There is still many things we want to improve. Honestly I feel happy with him. I feel he understands me. We kind of are working well together. Hopefully we can have a couple more good years.”
Krejcikova routinely found fierce forehands to sweep through the opening set in less than half an hour. Krejcikova had eight winners to just three unforced errors in that frame, while Pliskova’s two winners in the first set were overwhelmed by 12 unforced errors.
Krejcikova had the early advantage in the second set as well, firing another forehand winner to break and lead 3-2. But after Pliskova used fantastic forehands of her own to grit out a tense six-deuce service hold and stay close at 4-3, the match turned.
Krejcikova dropped serve for the first time in the very next game, in which she hit three double faults, putting Pliskova back at level footing at 4-4. A volley miscue by Krejcikova at 15-30 in the game after that gave Pliskova a lifeline to a hold for 5-4.
Two more double faults by Krejcikova in the subsequent game, including on set point, allowed Pliskova to claim a fourth straight game and the second set.
Pliskova had now firmly pulled herself into the match, and the Czechs went toe-to-toe in a closely-contested decider. Pliskova’s powerful serves and pinpoint forehands helped her fend off break points at 2-2 and 4-4, keeping her ahead on the scoreboard.
The grit paid off at 5-4, where miscues by Krejcikova suddenly gave Pliskova triple match point. On the third chance, Krejcikova went long once more, and Pliskova had completed her comeback.