STANFORD, CA, USA - Top seed Garbiñe Muguruza became the first player to advance to the semifinals of the Bank of the West Classic on Friday in Stanford, rolling past No.5 seed Ana Konjuh in just over an hour, 6-1, 6-3.
The Wimbledon champion proved too much for the World No.20, as she broke serve five times and never trailed over the course of their first career meeting.
"I think today I was very accurate. Ana is such a powerful player and super young, I knew I had to be concentrated," Muguruza said. "I'm super happy that I'm through to the semifinals, and I'm pretty happy with the match."
Muguruza sprinted out of the gates in the quarterfinal match, breaking twice to lead 3-0 and delivering an emphatic love hold to add another game to her opening set tally.
Konjuh settled in with a hold of her own to get on the board, prompting a visit from coach Zeljko Krajan, but Muguruza kept her foot on the gas and hardly looked back after her early lead, clinching the set on her third set point after opening up a 0-40 lead in the seventh game.
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Konjuh started to find some of the form that took her to the US Open quarterfinals last summer in the second set, as she stayed with the top seed from the baseline in four tightly contested games to begin the second set, three of which went to deuce.
"I knew I had to match her, be aggressive as well. I'm happy that I did it, and that it didn't turn bad in the second set," Muguruza said. "I think she served a little bit better, and did less mistakes, found the court more, hit pretty good shots and made the match a little bit more equal. It was a little tougher in the second set."
However, a mid-set surge from the Wimbledon champion allowed her to hold and break at love to build a two-game cushion, before another easy hold put her one game away from victory at 5-2. As she had all afternoon, the World No.4 put together a solid service game to close out the match, finishing it off in style with one of the longest points of the afternoon.
Overall, Muguruza was at her accurate best off the ground, with 17 winners to just 13 unforced errors in the victory, while Konjuh proved slightly more erratic; the No.5 seed hit 15 winners to 20 errors, and was unable to win either of the break-point opportunities she created.
That was due to, in part, Muguruza's rock solid numbers on serve, as the top seed put in nearly 70% of her first serves for the match, won 82% of the points played on them, and also won more than 50% of the points played on her second serve.
"I'm pleased to be back, playing Stanford, feeling good in the matches and happy to be in the semifinals," Muguruza said. "It's one of my goals, in every tournament I play, to go forward. I know it's a little bit fast to compete again [after Wimbledon.] I felt it was a good idea, I wanted to just keep playing, not giving a lot of time to think, and just follow my gut."