Garbiñe Muguruza sets up Australian Open semi-final with Simona Halep
Garbiñe Muguruza set up an Australian Open semi-final showdown with fellow former world No 1 Simona Halep as they both look to add a third grand slam to their haul.
The Spanish veteran fired past Russian 30th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 6-3 while a ruthless Halep crushed Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit 6-1, 6-1 in Wednesday’s earlier quarter-final at Rod Laver Arena.
Currently ranked world No 32, both Muguruza and Halep are former Wimbledon and French Open champions. Halep has come closest to a title at Melbourne Park, losing the 2018 decider to Caroline Wozniacki in a three-set heart-breaker.
She fired a warning that she will not let another opportunity slip, needing just 53 minutes to oust Kontaveit in a flawless display. Kontaveit did not play that badly – only making 15 unforced errors – but Halep hunted down every ball and sent it back with interest.
Muguruza, whose last major semi-final appearance was at Roland Garros in 2018, had a tougher time against Pavlyuchenkova.
The pair traded breaks early in the second set before 26-year-old Muguraza stepped up her play. A double fault by the Russian handed her opponent a 2-4 lead and she was never headed from there.