Muguruza downs No. 1 Pliskova to reach Cincinnati final

  • Muguruza downs No. 1 Pliskova to reach Cincinnati final

Muguruza downs No. 1 Pliskova to reach Cincinnati final

"I was very precise with my shots", said Muguruza, who is 2-1 in her career against Halep, though the two haven't played since 2015.

Two young stars continued to take strides by claiming important titles in Cincinnati. In the early stages, it was just that, with Muguruza's slightly more powerful groundstrokes making the difference.

Halep must now set aside the humiliation to focus on the US Open.

While Muguruza racked up five winners in the first 15 minutes, Halep looked frustrated. Muguruza went ahead and allowed the Romanian to win only one game. The opening set saw the Spaniard racing to a 3-0 lead.

Pliskova, last year's US Open runner-up, had won six matches in a row over Muguruza since losing their first meeting at the 2013 French Open. The Spaniard bounced right back in the following game, taking advantage of even more errors from Halep to seal a double break. Her compelling over Sloane Stephens gave her no further motivation as she seemed rather deflated and unable to hurt Muguruza.

The only real resistance came in the fourth game of the second set, as Halep stepped up her attack, and earned two chances to break in a 12-minute game. "It's a big match", she pointed out.

She also denied Halep yet another chance to ascend to No. 1 in the WTA rankings.

There was not much else coming from her side of the court. In total, the Romanian only won 11 (of 31) of her total service points. In the victory, Muguruza won 80 percent of her first serve points and 44 percent of her second serve points.

But she was almost flawless on Saturday, not losing her serve once and breaking Pliskova four times.

From the start, Muguruza was serving with pin-point accuracy, never allowing Halep to gain any rhythm or control in the points.

From there, Halep strolled through, breaking Stephens twice more in quick succession to seal an impressive victory 6-2, 6-1.

The 6th world, the sacred at Wimbledon last month, needed only 57 minutes to win the fifth title of his career, his second of the year. But she saved her best performance of the week for No.1 Pliskova, tallying her third straight win over a World No.1.

Nick Kyrgios and Grigor Dimitrov will meet in the Cincinnati Open men's final while Garbine Muguruza will face Simona Halep in the women's final. Heading into Sunday's final, Halep holds 6,385 points. Muguruza easily defeated a tired Karolina Pliskova in the semifinals followed by Halep, while Williams beat Victoria Azarenka in group play and Maria Sharapova in the final.