SINGAPORE - WTA Rising Star Garbiñe Muguruza booked her place in the semifinals of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global with a thrilling three set win over Petra Kvitova on Friday.
In a contest lasting over two and a half hours, it was Muguruza that held her nerve at the death, prevailing, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.
"It was a crazy match, right?" Muguruza told on-court interviewer Andrew Krasny after the match. "Petra is an amazing player, and I think today she was playing great - she makes me concentrate and give my best."
Muguruza had beaten Kvitova's fellow left-handers Lucie Safarova and Angelique Kerber in her first two round robin outings, but looked in danger of blotting her unblemished record. In the third set she came within two points of defeat, ultimately relying on guile as much as her much-vaunted power to get across the finishing line.
"I think it's a great shot," Muguruza said when asked about the drop shots she unfurled in the final set. "It's good to make your opponent run!"
Now Muguruza has the opportunity to become the first player to make the final on her debut since Kvitova four years ago.
On that occasion, at the Finals' previous home in Istanbul, Kvitova walked away with the title. Muguruza, who is also through to the doubles semifinals with Carla Suárez Navarro, has played on six successive days and faces two further matches tomorrow.
"For sure I'm tired today and it's going to a challenge for me to see how much my body can handle," she added. "It's going to be hard but I think it's great to be in my position of playing singles and doubles semifinals. Now I have to recover well and do everything possible to be ready for both matches."
In the last four the Spaniard will face Agnieszka Radwanska. "It's amazing. To be here for me is great. I've been playing well all year and hopefully I can continue winning and playing like this," Muguruza added.
Kvitova's hopes of joining Muguruza in the knockout stage now rest on Safarova defeating Kerber in straight sets in the White Group's final match.