Tennis: 'Incredible' Wang dominates Muguruza to make Zhuhai final

ZHUHAI, China (AFP) – China’s number one Wang Qiang hailed a “miracle” after she outclassed double grand slam winner Garbine Muguruza on Saturday (Nov 3) to book a place in the final of the WTA Elite Trophy.

The 26-year-old took full advantage of a late call-up to the semi-final tie in Zhuhai after American Madison Keys pulled out just hours before the match started.

Spurred on by home fans at the Hengqin International Tennis Centre, Wang dominated the former world number one, winning 11 games in a row to take the match 6-2, 6-0 and set up a Sunday showdown against Ashleigh Barty.

The world number 22 looked calm and focused during the 73-minute semi-final, while Muguruza appeared out of sorts and frustrated, clattering her racket on to the court in the second set.

“I just relaxed very well, there’s no pressure,” Wang said at her post-match press conference.

The 11th seed, who beat Keys on Friday night in a round-robin match, said she had hardly any time to get ready for the semi-final.

“I didn’t think about what to improve,” she said.

“I just wanted to keep going.”

Asked about preparing for Sunday’s final, Wang said: “It’s already a miracle for me to stand on the court. So what I’ll do is I’ll just relax tomorrow.”

Muguruza said Wang’s performance was “excellent”, adding: “She was playing incredible shots and not missing anything.”

Asked if she was affected by the last-minute change of opponent, she said: “I mean, these things happen. I was ready to play a tough match, either it’s Keys or Wang, whoever it is.

“But, no, I think I played a very tough opponent today. Maybe she was also a little bit surprised that she was playing and a little bit more relaxed.”


Barty earlier overcame defending champion Julia Goerges 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

The Australian grew into the semi-final against Germany’s Goerges, seeded fifth, and dominated the third set to book her place in Sunday’s final.

Goerges, who celebrated her 30th birthday on Friday, dropped two service games in the deciding set as her 22-year-old opponent motored to victory.

Barty told her post-match press conference: “It’s always nice to get better as a match goes on. I felt pretty good physically out there.”

Asked how she was able to turn the match around after losing the first set, she said she made a tactical change.

“I think I had to try an assert myself a little bit earlier in points,” she said.

“Then when I was able to finally get some momentum and get into Julia’s service games, I was able to get into points and work my way into those games and give myself a chance.”

Goerges, who played a tough final round-robin match against Elise Mertens on Thursday night, said: “I think my body beat me a bit today, and Ashleigh obviously, too.

“I think I lost a little too much energy on the match before, especially mentally. I felt I could not hold it up anymore.”

Now in its fourth year the Elite Trophy features 12 players ranked roughly from nine to 20. This year’s total prize money is $2.35 million across the singles and doubles tournaments.

Wang replaced Keys, who had a knee injury, in Saturday’s semi-final because she finished second in their round-robin group with Daria Kasatkina.

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