Tennis Muguruza eliminated in Sydney, Krejcikova reaches semifinals

SYDNEY (Reuters) – World number three, Garbine Muguruza, was eliminated from the Sydney Tennis Classic on Thursday after losing to Russian Daria Kasatkina, while French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova comfortably defeated Caroline Garcia to reach the semifinals.

Muguruza lost 6-4 and 6-4 as Kasatkina reached her second semifinal in as many weeks.

The world’s number 26 Kasatkina, who has yet to drop a set in Sydney, fired four aces and won 77% of her first serve points against Muguruza to seal the win.

The win was also Kasatkina’s first over a top five player since beating Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round of Roland Garros 2018.

“At first I was maybe a little over-enthusiastic, I wanted to do too much, but at the end I was able to control myself and I made few good decisions and was happy with the result,” Kasatkina told reporters.

“I think it is also a very good preparation for a Grand Slam, because it feels different to play on the big courts against a big player anyway.”

World number four Krejcikova took a 6-0 6-2 win over France’s Garcia and set up a semi-final with Anett Kontaveit, who advanced when her Tunisian opponent Ons Jabeur withdrew with a low back injury after losing the first set with 6 -4 had lost.

After knocking out her opponent in the opening set, Krejcikova took a 2-0 lead in the next set and thwarted a comeback attempt by Garcia to end the game in 68 minutes.

Spaniard Paula Badosa survived a wobble halfway through the game, beating Olympic champion Belinda Bencic 7-6 (6) 3-6 6-3 to face Kasatkina for a spot in the final.

In the ATP 250 event at the same venue, former world number one Andy Murray reached the semi-finals when his opponent David Goffin was injured after losing the first set 6-2.

The 34-year-old Murray, who has slipped to 135th in the world rankings after a lengthy injury due to hip surgery, will make his first appearance in the semi-finals since he won in Antwerp in 2019.

“Obviously it’s been a while for me. I really feel like I’m — well, I’ve gotten closer in the past few months and my results suggest that,” Murray told reporters.

“Good to be there so early in the season. Yes, hopefully I can build from here and have a strong year.”

Next up for Murray is American Reilly Opelka, who defeated compatriot Brandon Nakashima 7-6(4) 6-2.

Also Russian Aslan Karatsev who advanced to the next round defeated Lorenzo Sonego 6-2 3-6 6-2.

Karatsev then takes on British third seed Dan Evans, who defeated American Maxime Cressy 6-4 7-6 (5) in the evening session.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar and Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; editing by Tom Hogue, Toby Chopra and Pritha Sarkar)

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