28 February 2020

Barty sets up Kvitova semi-final clash after battling past Muguruza at Qatar Open

World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty will face Petra Kvitova in the semi-finals of the Qatar Open after she saw off Garbine Muguruza in Doha.

The 23-year-old toughed out a gruelling contest against the Australian Open runner-up to secure a 6-1 6-7 (4) 6-2 victory in one hour and 56 minutes.

Having dominated the opening set with a couple of breaks and some superb winners, Muguruza fought back to send the second set to a tie-break.

And the Spaniard capitalised on some sloppy play from her opponent to race into a 5-0 lead and ultimately send the match to a decider.

But it was Barty who kept her cool late on as she broke Muguruza three times in a row to move into the last four in Qatar.

After the match, Barty said: "I felt like I started exceptionally well and I was able to get the ball kind of in my areas a lot more. Then in the second set Garbiñe was able to shift her court position and take a few more risks, put me on the back foot. 

"It was frustrating, I felt like I wasn't doing a lot wrong but I wasn't making the most of my opportunities and wasn't getting opportunities.

"So I think really happy to be able to start the third set well, I think particularly that first service game was going to be important in the third."

Barty will now renew her rivalry with Kvitova, who she beat in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open last month and has defeated in their last four meetings.

However, 12 months ago the Czech player did dump Barty out at the Melbourne Grand Slam, so the No. 1 seed is under no illusions it will be a straight forward path to the final.

"I love playing Petra, I really do," she added.

"I feel like she has this way of bringing out the best in me, and no matter the result both of us have a smile on our face and that's what I love about the contest with Petra is we respect each other, we play well and we just fight and we just see whoever's better on the day will get the win and I'm expecting tomorrow to be no different."

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