‘Incredible’ Wang dominates Muguruza to make Zhuhai final
China’s number one Wang Qiang outclassed double grand slam winner Garbine Muguruza on Saturday to book a place in the final of the WTA Elite Trophy against Ashleigh Barty.
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 Center, 11th seed Wang dominated the former world number one, winning 11 games in a row to take the match 6-2, 6-0.
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.
Muguruza told her post-match press conference 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.”
Wang’s victory sets up a final clash on Sunday with Australia’s Barty, who earlier overcame defending champion Julia Goerges 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
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Barty grew into the semi-final against Germany’s Goerges, seeded fifth, and dominated the third set to book her place in Sunday’s showdown in Zhuhai.
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 Friday 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.