Garbine Muguruza was the only one to worry Osaka at the Australian Open by getting match balls. On this tournament in Doha, her attacking tennis continues to work wonders. She defeated Kudermetova, Sabalenka after a great match and Maria Sakkari in two small sets. The Spaniard can rely on an excellent serve whose trajectory is hard to read and very difficult to break. Her opponent, Victoria Azarenka, beat Kuznetsova, Siegemund and Elina Svitolina in two sets each. This is a real test Azarenka will have to pass against Muguruza. Contrary to Svitolina's wait-and-see game, the Spaniard is going to continuously attack her opponent who risks getting into trouble, especially with the back pain that persists this Friday. The two women have met four times in the past (2 times on hard and 2 times on clay). They are currently back to back. The Spanish woman's popularity has literally melted away due to the physical condition of the Belarusian, unable to sit on her bench when changing sides. If the Spaniard serves well, she will have every chance to reach the final. Garbine Muguruza: "In Abu Dhabi, Sakkari played an incredible match. Today, I had to raise my level of play to avoid defeat. I knew she was going to be tough and I am happy to feel so good on the court and to be in the semi-finals. I am getting closer and closer to the title. I'm really looking forward to it. » Victoria Azarenka: "I'm really proud of the way I handled mentally and approached this match. We'll see later if I took a risk of aggravating my injury. I hope not, but when you have excitement and adrenaline and you're on centre court in Doha ... it's a slightly different judgment than when you're at home and you go out to train. » Julien Varlet's eye: There is something to report at the entrance. Victoria Azarenka's back injury. Against Elina Svitolina, she called in the physiotherapist from the second game of the match. So much so that the Ukrainian probably thought that she would be able to impose herself quietly. But she doesn't know the very combative Belarusian very well. In the semi-final against Garbine Muguruza, it might not pass. This pain, cold, can bother her. Besides, the odds are largely in favour of the Spanish. Also, Muguruza is in great shape. She has curled Maria Sakkari. And I think she is more and more offensive, taking a maximum of initiative and finishing a few points in the net. In short, she could hurt Azarenka very badly, both in power and speed of play.  

Petra Kvitova vs Jessica Pegula

  Jessica Pegula has managed to prove that her run at the Australian Open wasn't due to chance. Out of the qualifications, the American should have a little bit more resistance with Petra Kvitova. The Czech rider seems to take advantage of the conditions in Doha, after a disappointing Australian Open, to play good tennis. Petra Kvitova (10th in the world) has won her ticket for this semi-final by winning a clinging match against Anett Kontaveit. She alternated the good and the not so good in this match. As often, it was her service that was the regulator of this match. Particularly efficient in the first set, her first serve allowed her to win many points (71% of the points won with a passing first). She had a really weak time in the 2nd set where she let her opponent take the game for herself. The Czech conceded 4 times her serve in this second set and quickly found herself in trouble with the Estonian's powerful returns. Kontaveit seemed to have found the right tactics and the right length of ball to trouble Kvitova. But she lost her footing in the 3rd set, betrayed by her serve (only 37% of points gained on her first serve). Jessica Pegula played very close against Pliskova in the quarter-finals (6-3, 6-1). She was very solid and managed to read perfectly the service of the Czech who must have been a little bit tired from her long fight the day before against the Tunisian Ons Jabeur. The two women had met at the US Open in 2020 and Kvitova had beaten Pegula in two sets. Despite everything, one should be wary of Pegula who progresses match after match. The American has an offensive game. She is very good at recovery. Her attacking game may cause problems for Kvitova if she doesn't serve well. Jessica Pegula: "I have no idea where this quality of play comes from to be honest. I just play every match with a good state of mind I guess, and confidence just comes with that. I really think that when I won my first title at Washington in 2019, I built a whole other career from there. And then I think, just mentally, I've been really good for the last year in spite of this pandemic context. I knew things were going to be different, and I think I just decided to put my head down and work and yeah, go out and play with nothing to lose. I feel here in Doha. I had a tough match in the qualifiers, but other than that - I guess it's good that I was able to keep some energy today so that I can arrive better rested tomorrow. » Petra Kvitova: "I have already played Kontaveit several times, and it was always difficult like today. I'm happy to have found a way to take the advantage in this third set. I advanced point by point and I think it made a big difference. In the rallies it was 50/50 and anyone could win it this match but when I put the pressure back on, I was able to win it. It wasn't easy today with the sun and the shadows and everything, it was quite difficult..."

Julien Varlet's point of view: I think Petra Kvitova will impose herself. It's true, Jessica Pegula is continuing on the path she took at the Australian Open. Here she is in the half without losing a set and with a correction to Karolina Pliskova. Only, I think her classic punching game is going to clash with the left-handedness of her opponent. The Czech will disturb the American with her outside service and her short forehand crosses. Trumps that could make Pegula explode, who is more at ease in cadence and straight ahead. Both players are at ease on this surface. The Czech won the US Open in their first confrontation. I can see Kvitova looking for a result, she didn't succeed in Melbourne (defeat in the 2nd round at the Yarra Valley Classic and at the Australian Open).

Editor's note

⭐️⭐️⭐️ --- ⭐️⭐️ Victory Muguruza ⭐️ Victory Muguruza 2-0

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