Singapore joy for ‘motivated’ Muguruza

Second seed Garbine Muguruza
recorded a straight-sets victory over Angelique Kerber to maintain her 100 per cent winning record at the WTA Finals in 
Singapore and close in on a semi-final spot.

Garbine Muguruza of Spain celebrates as she defeats Angelique Kerber of Germany. Picture: AP

The 22-year-old Spaniard, who moved past Lucie Safarova on Monday, claimed a 6-4, 6-4 victory over her German opponent to go top of the White Group after both players had won their opening round-robin matches.

Venezuela-born Muguruza broke at 4-4 in the second set when Kerber sent a backhand pass wide before serving out for the set and putting one foot into the last four.

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Muguruza has defeated 
Kerber several times this year, winning close encounters at the French Open, Wimbledon and at the Wuhan Open earlier this month.

She told “Every time I step on the court against Angelique I know it’s going to be difficult, so I just have to give my best if I’m going to get the victory.

“I’m really motivated to be here because it’s my first time in Singapore singles. So I really want to come here and win all the matches I can and, hopefully, go far.”

In the opening White Group match yesterday, two-times Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova kept her hopes alive as she saw off Safarova in straight sets.

The 25-year-old fourth-seeded Czech defeated compatriot Safarova, who replaced defending champion Serena Williams – who withdrew to recover from a knee injury earlier this month, 7-5, 7-5 in an hour and 48 

Kvitova was beaten by Kerber in her opener on Monday but bounced back from a 3-0 deficit in the second set to come out on top in a tense finale against Safarova.

The 2011 winner was delighted to claim her first win and said: “I’m really glad that I was able to play and win the kind of match after my loss in the first match here.

“For sure, it was a difficult match. I know that Lucie wasn’t really healthy weeks ago and I’m just happy that she’s here as well.

“It’s great to have two Czechs in the WTA Finals.”

Meanwhile, British No 2 Aljaz Bedene was knocked out in the second round of the Valencia Open.

The 26-year-old, who was born in Slovenia but gained UK citizenship in March, fell to a 6-3, 6-4 defeat to Canada’s Vasek Pospisil. It was a disappointing afternoon for the world No 48, who had beaten French eighth seed Jeremy Chardy 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 in round one.Pospisil will play either German qualifier Daniel Brands or top seed David Ferrer of Spain in the next round.

Elsewhere America’s Steve Johnson continued his fine recent form with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Slovakian Martin Klizan.

Johnson up to a career-high ranking of 33 following his exploits in Vienna, where he lost to Ferrer in the final, set up a meeting with another Spaniard, Feliciano Lopez.

Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas pulled off a shock by beating Australian third seed Bernard Tomic, Roberto Bautista-Agut won an all-Spanish clash against Nicolas Almagro and Russian Andrey Rublev swept past Marcel Granollers of Spain in straight sets.