SINGAPORE: Spanish sensation Garbine Muguruza dominated Angelique Kerber 6-4, 6-4 on Wednesday to put one foot in the WTA Finals last four on her debut in the season-ending tournament.
The 22-year-old, who rose to world number three on Monday, aggressively attacked from the net and dictated play for most of the match against her more experienced opponent.
Super-confident Muguruza, with just two titles to her name, said she was already eyeing a spot in the Singapore final after beating Lucie Safarova and now Germany’s Kerber to stand on the brink of the semis.
“Every time I step on the court against Angelique I know it’s going to be a very tough match we played an unbelievable match today,” Muguruza said.
“I’m really motivated to be here. It’s my first time in Singapore singles so I really want to come here and win all the matches I can and hopefully be in the final,” she added.
Left-handed Kerber, 27, was broken four times by the tall but quick Spaniard, who won in Beijing this month and was runner-up to Serena Williams at Wimbledon in July.
“I think right now she had a lot of confidence from the last few weeks, and I think that helps her like to be very confident in the important moment and just go for it,” Kerber said.
“I think that’s why she is so dangerous right now.”
Muguruza, who is also playing in the doubles, tops White Group but she is not into the semis yet and still needs to play Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic on Friday.
The top two in each round-robin group will reach the semi-finals. The event features the top eight women’s players apart from world number one Williams, who opted to rest.
Earlier two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova kept her hopes alive and pushed Safarova to the verge of elimination with a 7-5, 7-5 win over her fellow Czech left-hander.
The world number five and 2011 champion has never lost to Safarova, her close friend and Fed Cup partner, holding a 8-0 record across all surfaces.
“I’m really glad that I was able to play and win the kind of match after my loss in the first match here,” said Kvitova, who lost to Kerber in her opening match.
The two Czechs said they are also looking forward to playing together when they face Russia in the Fed Cup final in Prague from November 14-15.
Kvitova and Safarova have led the Czech Republic to three trophies from the last four editions of the Fed Cup.
“We actually are good friends from the Fed Cup, so I’m really glad the Fed Cup is coming soon and we going to be colleagues and not opponents,” Kvitova said.
Maria Sharapova, who now leads the Red Group in Singapore, will anchor the Russian Fed Cup line-up.