Serena Williams came back from a set down to beat Spain’s rising star Garbine Muguruza to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Monday.
The top seed conceded break points in a disappointing opening set but moved fast to take the second set and claim a 2-6 6-3 6-2 win against the No. 24 seed, who was hoping to become only the fifth player to have beaten the American twice or more at a major (sister Venus, Jennifer Capriati, Justine Henin and Sam Stossur have all done that).
“it was a great match- congratulations to garbine, she played so well,” Williams said.
Lightening almost struck twice, with the 21-year-old looking comfortably in her zone with her aggressive hard-hitting game which helped her dominate through to 3-all in the second set while Serena trailed 1-10 on break points.
But the 18-time Grand Slam champion found her range, breaking away to force a decider. With 24 minutes down in the third set and just two games played, Serena dug her way out of a long rally to tie 1-1 on her service game. She moved on to take five of the next six games, and claimed match point when Muguruza sent a forehand long.
“She did everything she needed to do in the first set. For once I didn’t start out slowly, she was just playing so well at the start,” Williams stressed. “She hits the ball really, really big and really, really hard.
“But I started to focus from there and just relaxed a little bit.”
Standing in between Wiliams and a first Australian Open semi-final spot is last year’s finalist Dominika Cibulkova, who outlasted two-time winner Victoria Azarenka 6-2 3-6 6-3 earlier at Rod Laver Arena.
Cibulkova sailed through the first set, but the unseeded Vika made case for her comeback right from the start of the second set. The Russian was two points away from claiming a 3-0 lead when her 11th seed opponent upped the antic, taking six of the last seven games to close out just her third win in their ten career meetings.