WTA Brisbane: Garbine Muguruza wins thriller over Daria Kasatkina

WTA Brisbane: Garbine Muguruza wins thriller over Daria Kasatkina

The reigning French Open champion won her second straight three-set match to start the season and reach the last eight in Brisbane.

John Lupo

Garbine Muguruza saved a match point to defeat Daria Kasatkina 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7) in the second round of the Brisbane International. Muguruza edged local favorite Samantha Stosur in the first round while Kasatkina eliminated Irina-Camelia Begu in the opening round in straight sets.

The fans were treated to a thrilling affair that lasted two hours, 58 minutes.

Close first set goes the way of the Spaniard

Both players started out shaky on serve, each player breaking the other twice within the opening seven games. Kasatkina broke to 30 for a 2-0 lead while Muguruza quickly responded with a love break back. The Spaniard dropped serve again to hand the Russian a 4-2 lead only to see the seventh game last 17 points, Muguruza again breaking back.

She broke again for a 5-4 lead, but in position to take the lead, dropped serve yet again. At 5-5, Muguruza got one final break for a 6-5 lead and proceeded to serve out the set.

Kasatkina takes second set to level the match 

The middle set saw a flurry of breaks early, as Kasatkina again took an early 3-1 lead on the strength of consecutive breaks. Unlike the first set, both players would settle down on serve, but it would prove to be too late for Muguruza as the early breaks consigned her to her fate.

The Spaniard was particularly wasteful in the ninth and final game as Kasatkina rallied from 0-40 down to hold and take the set 6-3 to force a deciding third set.

Muguruza saves match point, squeaks by Russian to progress to the last eight

The final set saw Muguruza jump out to a 4-1 lead behind two more breaks of serve. As was the theme of the match, more breaks were to come and when the dust settled, Kasatkina led 5-4 after a run of four straight games won. Serving for the match, the Russian was broken to love. After each player held, the match would be decided in a final set tiebreak. 

The tiebreak saw Kasatkina take a quick 2-0 lead before Muguruza reeled off four straight points. The Spaniard took leads of 5-4 and 6-5 before the Russian won both points on Muguruza's serve. Leading 7-6, Kasatkina capitulated, losing the final three points to gift Muguruza the win, sending the Spaniard into the quarterfinals and giving the fans a match to remember.