Alexandrova Upsets Muguruza At Shenzhen Open

SHENZHEN, January 10, 2020 (Press Release)

Russian No.5 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova moved into the second WTA Tour final of her career at the Shenzhen Open as she brushed past former world No.1 Garbiñe Muguruza 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 16 minutes on Centre Court.

After both players held serve for the first five games, world No. 34 Alexandrova (career high) struck first with a break in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead, and although she squandered three set points en route to losing her first service game at 5-3, the Russian put paid to any hopes of a Muguruza resurgence when she broke the Spaniard in the next game to take a one set lead.

With the momentum in her favour, the 25-year-old took five of the next six games for a 5-1 lead. Sixth seed Muguruza, currently ranked just one spot lower than her opponent at No.35, got her first break of the set in the next game before saving match point to hold serve and make it 5-3, but she was merely delaying the inevitable.

Big-hitting Alexandrova took the next three points to give herself triple match points and closed out the match on the second attempt with a powerful forehand drive down the line.

“I’m feeling great, I’m very excited about the final tomorrow and I hope I can do my best. I was feeling very calm today and very confident – I think that helped a lot. Because she’s a real experienced player, she knows what to do and how to play. I just tried to stay calm throughout the match and I think that helped,” said the Russian.

Meanwhile, Kazakhstan’s in-form phenom Elena Rybakina did not drop a single game in a commanding 6-2, 7-5 victory over Kristyna Pliskova in 72 minutes to move into her third career final in six months.

The seventh seeded 20-year-old hit nine aces and saved all three break points she faced during the match, while converting three of the six she fashioned against the big serving Czech.

The Moscow native, who changed allegiance from Russia to Kazakhstan last year, will be gunning for her second career title tomorrow, having picked up her maiden trophy at Bucharest last July.

With 180 points in the bag, the current world No. 36 is now guaranteed to be the top ranked player of her adopted country next week and will be the first Kazakh to make the finals in Shenzhen.

It’s amazing. I’ve played good in two or three tournaments in China last year so it’s amazing to be in the final here as well. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s match. Today I served really good, much better than in previous days. I didn’t lose a service game and I was focusing on the return also because I know she is a player who plays aggressive and fast. I was always ready for the first few balls because I knew it was important,” said Rybakina.

Rybakina and Alexandrova have only met once off the Tour at the Czech Tennis Extraliga last December, where the Russian prevailed in three sets.

“We didn’t play each other in WTA Tournaments but I know her and I’m going to watch her matches and I will talk with my coach and I will try to do my best tomorrow,” said the Kazakh of her final match.

“I think we played once or a couple of times. She’s a great player, now she’s like on a rush – playing so good. It will be a tough one,” said Alexandrova.

In the doubles semifinals, number three seeds Duan Yingying and Zheng Saisai rallied from a set down to overcome the challenge of first time Japanese-Romanian pair Misaki Doi and Monica Niculescu, winning 3-6, 6-3, 10-4 in one hour and 21 minutes.

The Chinese pair got the first break of the match to go 3-2 up but lost both their subsequent service games to relinquish the first set.

After an early exchange of breaks in the second set, world No. 18 Duan and 2019 Acapulco champ (w/ Azarenka) Zheng finally seized the initiative with a decisive break in the eighth game to go 5-3 up and force a decider.

The Roland Garros finalists were dominant in the super tiebreaker, winning 100% of their service points and notching three mini-breaks to secure their second finals appearance as a duo.

“The first set they played pretty well and were very aggressive at the net and serving at a high percentage. We talked to each other and tried to change our strategy for the second set – to make more shots down the line or lob so their net strategy cannot work too much. Overall, I think we did pretty well. We are going to check videos of our opponents in the finals because we have not played them before. We will talk and try to prepare the best we can,” said Zheng.

The singles final will be played from 1pm onwards and followed by the doubles final between Duan/Zheng and Czech second seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova.

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