HOBART, Australia - After being extended to third set tie-breaks in her first two matches at the Hobart International, No.1 seed and Australian fan favorite Samantha Stosur had an easier time of it against Bojana Jovanovski on Thursday to secure clearance into the semifinals.
Down 2-1 in the second set, Stosur reeled off five straight games to clinch a 63 62 triumph over the eighth-seeded Jovanovski, which interestingly enough is the exact same score she beat her by in their only previous meeting at Eastbourne in 2011.
"It's just nice to know that you've been able to finish a match off and play well from start to finish rather than playing well, having a bit of a dip and going a bit up and down," Stosur said.
Going back to last year, which she concluded by capturing the title in Osaka and reaching finals in Moscow and Sofia, Stosur has now won 15 of her last 18 matches.
"There's no better confidence boost for someone than winning matches," Stosur said. "You can be practicing and hitting the ball great but when it comes down to these matches, that's where it counts.
"That's something I haven't been able to do in recent years and to come here and know I've won at least three matches this week, that's a great feeling going into a Grand Slam."
And as well as she played Thursday, Stosur said it still wasn't her best.
"I still think I can play better than what I am, so I guess that's also an exciting prospect," Stosur said.
"Everything's moving in the right direction, but I do think there's still room for improvement."
Stosur's semifinal foe will be seventh-seeded Klara Zakopalova, who came back from a 5-2, two-break second set deficit in her 64 75 victory over Alison Riske. Stosur will be looking for her fourth straight win in her series with the Czech, who is also into the doubles semifinals alongside Monica Niculescu.
Muguruza ousted second-seeded Kirsten Flipkens, 64 63, and Cabeza Candela came back from a 4-2 third set deficit in her 36 76(3) 64 defeat of Niculescu
Cabeza Candela has a 2-1 lead in her series with Muguruza, but this will be their first tilt on hardcourts. The winner will be into her first WTA final.
"We know each other," Muguruza said. "That can be helpful, but she is also my friend, so it's going to be interesting."