Sunday, November 14, 2021

Muguruza ends Kontaveit streak, advances in Finals

Garbiñe Muguruza snapped Anett Kontaveit's winning streak at 12 matches.
2017 photo by Mal Taam
   Garbiñe Muguruza had two psychological advantages over Anett Kontaveit tonight in the WTA Finals.
   Muguruza, a 28-year-old Spaniard, was more motivated and feels at home in Mexico.
   Those factors helped the sixth-seeded Muguruza, a two-time Grand Slam singles champion, defeat the eighth-seeded Kontaveit 6-4, 6-4 to finish 2-1 in round-robin play and reach the semifinals in Guadalajara. Kontaveit, a 25-year-old Estonian, already had qualified for the semifinals.
   Muguruza struggled with her service toss, and Kontaveit had trouble with her forehand.
   Kontaveit's winning streak ended at 12 matches. She lost for only the third time in her last 31 matches, a hot streak that began shortly after she hired Dmitry Tursunov as her coach. A 38-year-old Moscow native, Tursunov trained in Northern California as a junior and professional.
   Muguruza won the Stanford doubles title in 2014 with just-retired Carla Suarez Navarro and reached the singles semifinals in the last year of the tournament in 2017 before it moved to San Jose.
   Earlier today, No. 3 seed Karolina Pliskova outlasted No. 2 seed Barbora Krejcikova 0-6, 6-4, 6-4 in an all-Czech encounter. Krejcikova, who won her first Grand Slam singles title in the French Open in June, led 4-2 in the second set.
   It was the second consecutive match in which a player or team triumphed after getting blanked in the first set. In doubles Saturday night, Alexa Guarachi and Desirae Krawczyk edged Sharon Fichman and Giuliana Olmos, a San Francisco Bay Area product who represents Mexico, 0-6, 6-3 [11-9].
   Pliskova finished 2-1 in round-robin play but was eliminated when Muguruza won. Krejcikova went 0-3.
   In round-robin doubles, No. 5 seeds Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai, the reigning U.S. Open champions, topped No. 2 seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara, a 23-year-old Bay Area native, 4-6, 6-3 [10-7] to improve to 1-2. Aoyama and Shibahara (2-1) already had clinched a semifinal berth.
   No. 4 seeds Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Demi Schuurs beat No. 7 seeds Darija Jurak and Andreja Klepac 6-4, 3-6 [10-2] in an elimination match. In San Jose, Melichar-Martinez won the 2019 title with then-44-year-old Kveta Peschke, and Jurak and Klepac took this year's crown.

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