USA's Coco Vandeweghe is having a dream run at the Australian Open. Vandeweghe recorded back-to-back victories over former semifinalist Eugenie Bouchard, top seed and defending champion Angelique Kerber, and the American outplayed seventh seed Garbine Muguruza in her second Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance.
For the 15th consecutive Grand Slam tournament, a new Grand Slam semifinalist on the WTA side has emerged, a run dating back to Wimbledon in 2013.
Vandeweghe wins a tight opening set
The 2015 Wimbledon quarterfinalist won the coin toss and elected to receive. The former top 30 player raced out to a 0-30 lead on Muguruza's serve with the Spaniard committing forehand unforced errors. The former world number two would win her first point of the match by virtue of a backhand unforced error. However, Vandeweghe would have two break point chances but Muguruza saved them by coming to the net and producing a forehand winner. A couple of backhand errors, allowed Muguruza to hold serve and lead 1-0.
The American would hold serve to love in the second game of the match, and Muguruza struggled on her serve once again in the second set. She raced out to a 40-15 lead but three consecutive points in a row allowing Vandeweghe to have another break point. Once again, Muguruza would save it with a good serve and backhand winner down the line, and she closed out the game forcing the error from the American to lead 2-1.
The 25-year-old American would start the next game slowly with a double fault, however, she came out on top in a nine shot rally, followed by a smash winner at the net and an ace down the T. Vandeweghe remained untroubled on serve leveling the opening set 2-2.
Both players continued to engage in long baseline rallies and in the next two games, they had no problems on serve with the match evenly poised at 3-3. However, Muguruza would find herself down 0-30 but she would win the next two points with errors flowing from Vandeweghe's racquet.
The 35th ranked American would have another break point chance by coming out on top in a rally with a backhand volley winner at the net. She failed to capitalize on the Spaniard's second serve, committing a backhand unforced error out wide. The lengthy game lasting a little over 10 minutes ended with Vandeweghe converting her fifth break point chance in this by virtue of an untimely Muguruza double fault to lead 4-3.
The French Open champion was competing in her fifth Grand Slam quarterfinal, applying pressure on the American's serve coming out on top with an 11-shot rally, causing the backhand unforced error from Vandeweghe. Muguruza roared "Vamos" when the hard-hitting American committed another error falling 0-30 down. However, a service out a winner from Vandeweghe, a 10-shot baseline rally going crosscourt and two unforced errors from Muguruza allowed Vandeweghe to consolidate the break and lead 5-3.
Muguruza was serving to stay in the opening set and Vandeweghe was intent on taking the set in this game, coming out in an eight-shot rally with a forehand winner down the line, followed by a backhand error from the seventh seed. Furthermore, Muguruza would win the next three consecutive points with a backhand winner down the line but a good return from Vandeweghe and a forehand return winner down the line handed the American a set point. A good first serve out and a forehand winner from Muguruza saved it, the Spaniard would close out the game with an ace down the T but trailed 5-4.
Vandeweghe starting the all-important tenth game with a forehand unforced error in the net, quickly followed by an ace down the T and a service winner, moreover, a five-shot rally and backhand unforced error, followed by a backhand winner catching the line handed Muguruza a chance to break for the first time in the match. The American quickly snuffed it out with an ace out wide, bringing up a second set point with a backhand winner down the line in an extended rally, and a backhand error from Muguruza, gave Vandeweghe the opening set, 6-4 in 56 minutes.
The American cruises into the semifinals
Muguruza opened up the first game of the second set but Vandeweghe was virtually unplayable, getting a 0-40 lead on the Spaniard's serve. On the second break point chance, Muguruza served big out wide but Vandeweghe already moved to her right and produced an outrageous forehand return winner down the line.
Vandeweghe won her third consecutive game of the match and consolidated the break to lead 2-0. Once again, Muguruza's serve was under severe scrutiny as Vandeweghe was producing winner after winner, a double break handed the American a 15-40 lead and she came out on top in a 12-shot baseline rally with a forehand winner down the line to get the insurance break and lead 3-0.
Muguruza didn't have the answers in the following game, and Vandeweghe had the finishing line in sight by winning her fifth consecutive game of the match leading 4-0. It was important for the French Open champion to hold serve in the fifth game but immediately a short ball was punished by the American with a backhand winner down the line. Furthermore, Muguruza would get a 30-15 lead by virtue of two errors from the Spaniard, moreover, Vandeweghe would continue her dominance with an eight shot rally and punishing winner in the corner. An untimely double fault handed Vandeweghe a chance to break with a forehand winner to break Muguruza for the third time in the match and lead 5-0.
The American's service game was the most important service game of her career. She led 30-0 but Muguruza responded with a backhand winner down the line in an eight-shot rally, and the world number 35 would create more unforced errors to give Muguruza a lifeline break point. The 25-year-old managed to save it coming out on top in a seven-shot rally with a forehand crosscourt winner. Once again Muguruza struggled in the extended rallies, and Vandeweghe would cause the upset by defeating the French Open champion, 6-4, 6-0 in 1 hour and 24 minutes.
Vandeweghe got 52 percent of her first serves in and she would a staggering 88 percent of the points on her first serve. The American would produce 31 winners and 20 unforced errors, in contrast to Muguruza who produced 14 winners and 16 unforced errors. The seventh seed struggled with her serve as Vandeweghe created 13 break point chances taking four of them in the process. Muguruza served out four double faults, she got 56 percent of her first serves in and won 61 percent of the points on it.
An All-American affair
The world number 35 will be competing in a Grand Slam semifinal for the first time in her career. Vandeweghe will be competing against compatriot and 13th seed Venus Williams for a spot in Saturday's final, and Williams will be searching for her second Australian Open final in the process.