Garbiñe Muguruza overcame a slow start - and a spirited challenge from Svetlana Kuznetsova - to move into the semifinals of the Brisbane International for the first time, where she'll face Alizé Cornet.
WTA Staff

BRISBANE, Australia - Garbiñe Muguruza overcame a slow start - and a spirited challenge from Svetlana Kuznetsova - to move into the semifinals of the Brisbane International for the first time.

"It was very tough, all the matches I play against Svetlana are very difficult," Muguruza said afterwards. "She's a Grand Slam champion and an amazing player, so we know each other and it's always a battle."

Muguruza extended her dominance over the Russian, winning her third straight match against Kuznetsova and notching a 7-5, 6-4 victory in the rematch of their battle at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.

The Spaniard faced a tough road on her way to her quarterfinal, battling past Sam Stosur in the first round and Daria Kasatkina in the second, both matches grueling three-setters.

"My previous matches were very, very tough, and I felt a little bit tired. But I was very, very motivated so I kind of forgot that I was tired."

The sluggishness showed early on as Muguruza found herself getting outhit and outpaced by Kuznetsova in the opening set. The Russian took full advantage, climbing to a 4-1 lead after an early break.

Under the advice of her coach, Muguruza changed her strategy, keeping the points shorter and finishing at the net. The gamble paid off as Kuznetsova began to misfire, surrendering the break back and allowing Muguruza to even the score. She kept her head cool as she fended off two set points to break again and go on to take the opening set. She broke twice in the second to claim the match after an hour and 49 minutes.

Alizé Cornet awaits in semifinals as Muguruza seeks to reach her first final since the French Open. While Muguruza leads the head-to-head record 2-0, they haven't played since late 2014.

"We know each other, we've played before," the Spaniard said of her next opponent. "She's a fighter as well so I just expect another pretty good match."