Seventh seed Garbiñe Muguruza showed great resilience in a mightily impressive 7-6(5), 1-6, 6-0 win over red-hot 10th seed Elina Svitolina, who was riding an astounding 15-match winning streak, to book a quarterfinal showdown with familiar foe Karolina Pliskova at the BNP Paribas Open.
Muguruza Toughs Out Hour-Long Opening Set
Having come up second best to Svitolina in their last two meetings, Muguruza was keen to get off to a strong start, which she was able to do after ruthless persistence, especially from the receiving end. Making the most of her opportunities in the second game, the reigning French Open champion only needed two bites at the cherry to move ahead by a single break. An advantage she would maintain for the better part of the opening set, Muguruza appeared to have things under control when she moved within one game of the all-important one-set lead at 5-2, but little did she know, Svitolina had other ideas.
The Ukrainian, who had come into the match fresh off a pair of titles and a pair of wins in the Californian desert, began to up her level, and it was only a matter of time until she restored parity with Muguruza at five-games-apiece. As the Spaniard began to unravel under the pressure, Svitolina seemed to grow in confidence, breaking once more to go up 6-5. Alas, her momentum proved to be short-lived as Muguruza hit back in emphatic style, breaking back to force a tiebreak.
In a titanic battle for the one-set advantage, mini-breaks were exchanged left, right and centre before Muguruza finally shut the door on the opening set with a brilliant volley, clinching it 7-6(5) in three minutes shy of the hour mark.
Smooth Sailing Svitolina Forces a Decider
In a complete reverse in fortunes compared to the opening frame, Svitolina began the second set on a mission and wasted no time in asserting her authority right from the off. As Muguruza’s level began to drop, Svitolina only seemed to gain in confidence, racing out to an imperious 4-0 lead.
The Spaniard did what she could to stop the rot, breaking straight back in the fifth game, but that only seemed to spur her Ukrainian counterpart on further as Svitolina would immediately reclaim the double-break advantage. From there, she would make no mistake in emphatically serving out the set, 6-1, in less than half an hour.
Magnificent Muguruza Closes the Match Out in Style; Advances to First BNP Paribas Open Quarterfinal
Picking up right where she left off in the early stages of the decider, Svitolina appeared to have her sights set on continuing this wave of momentum when she created another break point for herself, thanks to another series of errors from the Spaniard. Flirting with danger, Muguruza produced a one-two punch that landed just inside the baseline, which proved to be the turning point in the match.
Once she was able to dig herself out of that hole, the seventh seed showed great resolve to break the Svitolina serve once more, this time to draw first blood in the decider. From there, she would fight off a break point en route to the consolidation of her early break, before breaking again and consolidating to move within a game of a place in the last eight. Once there, a third break was all that was required for Muguruza to secure the victory, which she secured with a successful challenge to book her place in the quarterfinals.
Next Up for Muguruza: Pliskova
For a place in the last four, the reigning French Open champion will have to find a new gear to derail a familiar foe in third seed Karolina Pliskova, whom she has only won one of six matches against in their blossoming rivalry.