Garbiñe Muguruza ends with Azarenka and awaits Halep in the semifinals

Garbiñe Muguruza ends with Azarenka and awaits Halep in the semifinals

She will seek the final of the Italian tournament for the third time, after falling in the penultimate round in 2016 and 2017. The Belarusian had just won in Cincinnati and finished runner-up at the US Open

Garbiñe Muguruza ends with Azarenka and awaits Halep in the semifinals

Garbiñe Muguruza came back from a set against Victoria Azarenka (3-6, 6-3 and 6-4) to return to the semifinals of the Premier 5 in Rome . The Spanish-Venezuelan overcame a good start from her rival and a scare in that battered left ankle to return to touch what until now is her ceiling in the Foro Italico : twice she reached the gates of the final (2016, 2017); twice he stayed on the penultimate step. His next opponent will be the toughest, Simona Halep .

In that minefield that the draw in Rome planted for Muguruza, Azarenka played in the quarterfinals, the great resurrection of this final stretch of the season. The former number one, who came to consider retirement this year, who spent more than a year without winning a single game, has revived since she put herself in the hands of Patrick Mouratoglou . With Dorian Descloix as coach and Francis Bougy he has recovered sensations that he had not had for a long time. The ones you can see, like the Cincinnati title or the US Open final, and the ones you don't see. The Belarusian says that she has finally returned to enjoy playing tennis.

Azarenka has regained confidence in her game. Against Muguruza, he proposed a more defensive match, holding solidly at the back of the court and waiting for Garbiñe's mistake when he looked for the winners. The Caracas, better to the rest than with the service, had no where to raise the assault. In the change of Azarenka no longer weigh the personal problems of these years, the battle for the custody of her son. And that is also reflected in the calm with which it is handled on the track. While the physio attended Muguruza for a small scare in his left ankle (the same one that prevented him from being in Cincinnati, and for which he was a doubt until the last minute at the US Open), the Belarusian was on her bench, meditating with the eyes closed and legs drawn up.

Successive service breaks

Muguruza had to refine, especially from the rest, his best weapon in Rome and the dominant trend of the last two sets: out of 19 games, 12 ended with a break. The Spanish-Venezuelan hopes to change fate, which eluded her in 2016, when she fell against Madison Keys , and in 2017, the year in which she was forced to leave due to a neck injury she suffered during the warm-up of the match against Svitolina . It was the fourth tournament in which he had to retire that season.

And now, Simona Halep , the big favorite. The Romanian, seeded number one, was passing over Yulia Putintseva when the Kazakh had to leave with 6-2 and 2-0. The record gives reasons for each. For one thing, Muguruza has won four of six head-to-head matches, including the most recent in the semifinals of the Australian Open this year. On the other, Halep has prevailed in the only two who played on clay. The last, in the 2018 Roland Garros semifinal, on the way to his first Grand Slam title.

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