ROME, Italy - No.3 seed Garbiñe Muguruza is back into the semifinals at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia after taking down Venus Williams in a hard-fought three sets, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.
The victory will put Muguruza back into the WTA Top 5 when the new rankings are released on Monday. Currently ranked No.7, this move will guarantee the Spaniard a Top 4 seeding at Roland Garros as she prepares to defend her Grand Slam title in a few weeks’ time.
Muguruza, who reached the semifinals here last year before claiming the title in Paris, got off to a roaring start against Venus. Her forehand was firing from the start, and she changed the direction of the ball with ease to beat Venus with a couple of laser backhands down the line.
A spate of unforced errors also proved costly for Venus as Muguruza broke twice to build up a 4-0 lead, and carried the momentum to take the opening set in commanding fashion.
But after hitting just eight unforced errors in the opening set, Muguruza gave up 20 in the second to allow Venus an edge back into the match. The Spaniard had plenty of chances to get ahead, bringing up five break opportunities throughout the set, but Venus batted away each one and earned the lone break of serve to send the match into a decider.
After falling behind an early break, Muguruza got her game flowing once more. She recovered strongly and broke straight back, stepping into the court and taking the ball early to hit past the seven-time Grand Slam champion time and again.
Muguruza powered ahead to take the match after an hour and forty-six minutes to reach her second straight Rome semifinal.
Up next, Muguruza will take on No.8 seed Elina Svitolina for a spot in the final after the Ukrainian knocked out Karolina Pliskova earlier in the day.
More to follow…