Muguruza inches towards semifinals

Tennis : Kvitova beats Safarova; 2nd win for Sania-Hingis

Muguruza inches towards semifinals

Spain's Garbine Muguruza moved to the verge of the WTA Finals last four with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Angelique Kerber on Wednesday after Petra Kvitova opened her account with a 7-5, 7-5 victory over fellow Czech Lucie Safarova.

Muguruza (2-0) came into the tournament on the back of her first premier level tournament win in Beijing at the start of the month and backed up her impressive opening round-robin win over Safarova with another straight sets victory over Kerber.

Kvitova (1-1), Kerber (1-1) and Safarova (0-2) can all still advance to the last four from the 'White Group' with one round of matches to play but Muguruza is in prime position to advance as the winner of the four-player pool in Singapore.

The 22-year-old Muguruza started the contest full of positive intent, immediately finding the corners and licking the paint with her powerful ground strokes as she broke in the first game before Kerber had a chance to settle.

Slowly but surely, the German worked her way back into the set, breaking back in the fourth game through sheer determination and a tenacious defence as the pair fought tooth and nail to gain the ascendancy.

At 4-4, the Spaniard increased her intensity levels a notch and quickly forged three break points, edging ahead on the second of them and closing out the set with a blistering serve in the next game that Kerber sent sailing over the baseline.

Muguruza, who started the season ranked outside the top 20, continued to apply pressure at the start of the second as Kerber hung on by her fingernails, until the Spaniard finally converted her sixth break point of the set to edge 3-2 ahead.

Kerber refused to buckle, however, and broke back against the run of play in the eighth game before Muguruza wrestled back control in what had become a baseline slugfest, then closed out the contest as her demoralised opponent wilted under a barrage of booming forehands.

Earlier, Kvitova got her campaign back on track with a hard-fought victory over Fed Cup team-mate Safarova to record her first win of the week on the Singapore Indoor Stadium's purple hard court.

The 'Red Group' concludes on Thursday with Simona Halep (1-1) taking on Agnieszka Radwanska (0-2) before Maria Sharapova (2-0) faces Flavia Pennetta (1-1) in the night match.

Sania-Martina shine

Top seeds Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis won their second match in a row to more or less seal a women’s doubles semifinal spot in the doubles competition.

Following their straight sets victory in the opening match of the red group on Monday, the Indo-Swiss combine came up with another brilliant performance to beat Czech seventh seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 17 minutes.

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