DOHA, Qatar -- World No.4 Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain had very few problems reaching the quarterfinals of the Qatar Total Open, as the reigning Wimbledon champion dispatched Romanian Sorana Cirstea, 6-0, 6-4, in a third-round match on Thursday.
The Spaniard, who also won Roland Garros in 2016, was in dominant form against Cirstea, extending her head-to-head record with the Romanian to 3-0 after wins at the Australian Open and Wimbledon last year. Muguruza has now won consecutive matches for the first time this season.
Muguruza led 6-0, 5-1, before closing out the match. "I think I played very well in the first set, and in the second set she came out much better, reached a high level, I made a few mistakes, and there we go, the match is equal," Muguruza said on court, after the match.
“I like to feel the pressure, to be one of those privileged tennis players that can hope for the title, and it’s good," Muguruza continued. "It’s tough when you lose, but I like it.”
Muguruza finished the match 5-for-8 on break points, and put a solid 82 percent of first serves into play. Meanwhile, Cirstea had a whopping 43 unforced errors in the match, compared to only 10 winners.
In the first set, Muguruza played composed tennis while Cirstea self-destructed in a flurry of unforced errors. The Romanian had 14 miscues in the set, while Muguruza had just a single unforced error, and the Spaniard hit more winners in the opening frame by a margin of five to three.
Cirstea was broken at love in the first game of the match, and a backhand winner by Muguruza gave her a second break to lead 3-0, after Cirstea had reached game point with an ace. After a love service game for 4-0, Muguruza broke again before closing out the first set whitewash in the next game with an ace.
Cirstea started the second set under the gun, and tried to force the issue more by being more creative with her shot selection. Down break point in the first game, the Romanian attempted a drop shot, but it was to no avail, and Muguruza jumped ahead immediately with a break of serve.
The World No. 38 from Romania, who grabbed her first Top 20 win of the year over Elise Mertens in the previous round, finally held serve for 2-1. But Muguruza was hitting with great depth and few mistakes, pressuring the Romanian into bolder moves.
Serving down 1-3, Cirstea was broken again behind a couple of double faults, including one on break point. Muguruza held at love for 5-1, and the end of the match appeared imminent.
Nevertheless, Cirstea’s new tactics started to pay dividends, as she held serve for 5-2 with a volley winner at the end of a scintillating rally, and the Romanian finally saw her first break points of the match in the next game, converting her second opportunity when Muguruza double faulted.
After Cirstea held again for 5-4, the match began to resemble the Spaniard’s first match of the tournament, where she led Duan Ying-Ying 6-3, 5-1, but dropped three games in a row and seven match points before advancing.
But Muguruza called coach Conchita Martinez out for a quick chat, and the Spaniard regrouped. Muguruza reached match point with an ace, and held at love in the next point to finish off the match.
In the quarterfinals, Muguruza will take on the winner of the match between French No. 7 seed Caroline Garcia and Russian qualifier Anna Blinkova.
“I don’t even know who I play [next]," said Muguruza. "I was so concentrated on today because you have to win today to be able to play, so that’s the key.”