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By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Garbine Muguruza

Garbiñe Muguruza 10 aces in the final set subduing qualifier Veronika Kudermetova 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 to reach her third Dubai quarterfinal in six appearances.

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve

Deadlocked at 4-all in the decider, Garbiñe Muguruza summoned serenity moving within one win of a milestone.

Muguruza slashed five of her 10 aces in the final set subduing Russian qualifier Veronika Kudermetova 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 to reach her third Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships quarterfinal in six appearances.

More: Sock Breaks Down In Tears After Win

"I think it was a very hard-fought match for both of us," Muguruza said. "I knew it was gonna be hard. Veronika is playing very well and I'm excited to get the victory in those tough matches."

In a physical two hour, 25-minute test, Muguruza’s tranquil state of mind helped her cross the finish line. It was her sixth win in seven three-setters this season with the lone loss coming to Sofia Kenin in last month's Australian Open final.

"I think in general in life you gotta be calm, try not to let the emotions control," Muguruza said. "And when you compete that's a big part of it.

"I love coming here. This is my sixth year. I like it. I have a lot of fun and when you're happy in a place I think you just play well."

It was Muguruza’s 249th career victory. She’ll play for No. 250 when she faces Jennifer Brady for a semifinal spot.

The American qualifier continued her surge storming back from a set and a double-break down defeating Marketa Vondrousova 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.

Brady rolled through 11 of the final 12 games scoring her second Top 20 win of the week.

Empowered by her 6-2, 6-1 thrashing of two-time Dubai champion Elina Svitolina, Brady saved all six break points she faced in the final set today.

Last month, Brady stunned world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty in Brisbane. Next she’ll try to take down two-time Grand Slam champion Muguruza.

Continuing the best season start of her career, the Australian Open finalist improved to 13-2 on the season. Muguruza is second on the WTA Tour in wins behind Hobart champion Elena Rybakina.

Fresh off her run to the St. Petersburg final, Rybakina swept Katerina Siniakova 6-3, 6-3, to to raise her record to a WTA-best 17-3.

The 19th-ranked Rybakina, who toppled Australian Open champion Kenin in a fierce three-set battle yesterday, will play Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals.

The second-seeded Pliskova pumped four aces and did not face a break point crushing qualifier Kristina Mladenovic 6-1, 6-2.

"It's always a tough one against her," Pliskova said of Mladenovic. "We played in Australia, so I knew what to expect. I was not playing amazing but still, even with a couple of mistakes, I didn't give up.

"The score looked a little bit easier than it really was, we had a couple of tough games."

Serving execution under pressure—and her knack for playing first-strike tennis at crunch time—are Muguruza assets when she’s playing her best tennis. She’s shown both qualities this week standing up to former No. 1 Kim Clijsters and a vocal pro-Clijsters spoiling the four-time Grand Slam champion’s return to tournament tennis with a 6-2, 7-6(6) victory.

"It’s no secret," Muguruza said. "You are playing tough matches, long rallies. Every opponent gives you a hard time. You just have to stay there and stay with her until, well, someone is going to get it."

Tennis Express

Today, Muguruza refused to wilt.

"I think it's gonna be another tough match," Muguruza said of her quarterfinal vs. world No. 52 Brady. "You know Dubai is such a big tournament and every match is a challenge so I'm excited."


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