Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza complete the final four in Melbourne

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Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza won their Wednesday’s quarterfinal matches at the Australian Open, joining Ashleigh Barty and Sofia Kenin in the semis.

The fourth-seeded Halep needed just 53 minutes to dispatch first-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 6-1 6-1. Kontaveit won the first game of the encounter, but Halep then won the next 11 games before her 28th-seeded opponent finally managed to hold serve in the penultimate game. Reigning Wimbledon champion Halep is yet to drop a set this fortnight in Melbourne.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza continued her strong return to vintage form, as the unseeded Spaniard battled past seed No.30 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5 6-3.

After being bageled by Shelby Rogers in her first set at this year’s edition of the Australian Open, Muguruza looked on the way to a third consecutive first-round exit at a major, but after pulling off a three-set victory, the world No.32 has improved drastically, knocking out fifth seed Elina Svitolina and ninth seed Kiki Bertens in straight sets in the previous two rounds.

In Wednesday’s quarterfinal, Pavlyuchenkova was twice up a break, but Muguruza broke back right away, and when the Russian was serving to force a tiebreak, three doubles faults helped Muguruza establish a one set lead. In the second set, Pavlyuchenkova was again unable to consolidate a break she earned and Muguruza capitalized on her increasingly erratic game to progress into her first Grand Slam semifinals since 2018. Pavlyuchenkova has failed to reach a major semifinal in her sixth attempt!

The first semifinal on Thursday’s schedule will be the one between top seed Ashleigh Barty and No.14 seed Sofia Kenin, not before 2 p.m. local time on Rod Laver Arena, followed by Simona Halep vs. Garbine Muguruza.


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