March 22 2018

Simona Halep, Muguruza cruise into Cincinnati final

March 22 2018, 04:03 | Sammy Rose

Nick Kyrgios left beat Rafael Nadal 6-2 7-5 late on Friday. John Minchillo AP

Nick Kyrgios left beat Rafael Nadal 6-2 7-5 late on Friday. John Minchillo  AP

It has been on her mind for the last 3 months. "I really want that". Muguruza has to be a confident player considering she just won 49 percent of her return points against possibly the best server in the game right now.

With Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray among seven top 10 players out of action, the final marked the first Masters final between two men born in the 90s.

Romania s Halep, a French Open runner-up for the second time in June, can overtake top-ranked Czech defending champion Karolina Pliskova by winning the title in the final major tuneup for the US Open. Pliskova had 28 unforced errors to Muguruza's 13.

Dimitrov, a champion at Brisbane and Sofia this year, jumped ahead 5-2 in the tie-break and took the first set when an Isner backhand went wide. The odds then seemed in her favour at Wimbledon as she came within touching distance of the semis, which would have sealed the deal, only to lose 7-6, 6-7, 4-6 to Johanna Konta. That upped the ante for Muguruza, too.

"I think I'm more relaxed", she said. It's going to hold me back.

The seventh-seeded Dimitrov advanced with his first career win in six matches against Del Potro. So I understand. I think it's normal. I have still - I still have a chance.

Biles joked she has done little more than walk her dog since she left Brazil, though that's hardly true.

"I just wasn't there today at all", Pliskova said. "I felt like especially in the second set I could raise it a little bit more and close the match". That's why maybe I can play.

"I could have done a few things better". She was runnerup to Serena Williams in 2015.

Kyrgios, ranked 23rd, took the first set in 25 minutes, dropping only three points on his serve while taking seven-of-eight points off the 31-year-old Spaniard's second serves.

With the pair level at 5-5 in the second set, Kyrgios posted his fourth double fault of the match on deuce before firing a wayward forehand over the baseline. Her first thought was to check on her family.

"I was thinking about [Halep reaching No.1]". The Romanian has reached at least the quarterfinals of her last 11 tournaments.

But she said: "The US Open is a very long tournament. Solid opponent", Muguruza said.

After a disappointing clay-court season in 2017, Muguruza put doubt behind her once again by winning Wimbledon. "I'm like OK, I was listening to music, I checked for news and stuff, and I'm like, 'Oh, '" Muguruza said.

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