Zhang Shuai recorded one of the biggest wins of her career, overcoming No.5 sed Garbiñe Muguruza to advance to the Qatar Total Open quarterfinals.
WTA Staff

DOHA, Qatar - Zhang Shuai recorded one of the biggest wins of her career, overcoming No.5 seed Garbiñe Muguruza, 7-6, 3-6, 7-5 to reach the last eight - her fourth on the Premier level - at the Qatar Total Open.

Muguruza, who was playing her second match of the day - overcoming Turkey's Cagla Buyukakcay 6-3, 6-2 after their rain delayed match - quickly found herself in trouble against the Chinese No.1 - herself having to beat Timea Babos earlier in the afternoon - in the first meeting between the pair.

"I woke up thinking that I was going to have a very tough day," Muguruza said after. "This morning I warm up at 9:00 in the morning. I played pretty good the first match. The second one, Zhang played very well. The conditions were difficult. There was a lot of wind. She was finding her shots. At the end I think was two points difference and they went to her."

Thunderous hitting from the baseline saw Zhang secure back-to-back breaks of the former French Open champion's serve for a surprise early 4-1 lead. Muguruza's fighting spirit helped her break back to love and restore parity as a tight opening set went to a tie-break.

It was the impressive Zhang from there, nailing an impressive 83% of first serves to take the opener as Muguruza double faulted on set point.

The second set followed a similarly tight pattern but this time it was Muguruza with the crucial break at 4-2 as Zhang hit a forehand long, the single break proving sufficient for the Spaniard to serve out and take the match to a deciding set.

The former Australian Open quarterfinalist staved off three break points before breaking herself with a forehand onto the line.

With Muguruza struggling on her second serve, Zhang broke yet again and consolidated for a 5-2 lead but the Spaniard is not a grand slam champion for nothing and roared back to level at 5-5.

Zhang, making only her third appearance at Doha, was not to be denied and a further break at 6-5 sealed the win and her best showing to date. The win marked her fifth career Top 10 win and first of the season after previously earning wins over Dinara Safina, Petra Kvitova, and two over Simona Halep in 2016.

Up next for the Huajin Securities WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai semifinalist is either No.2 seed Karolina Pliskova or Caroline Garcia. Meanwhile Muguruza said she is looking forward to moving on to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

"I think I'm going to go as soon as possible," she said. "I want to go in Dubai, try to have a few days of training, recovery take it very seriously. I think Dubai is a big tournament this year for us. I want to do well there."