Muguruza ends Pliskova hoodoo to reach Cincinnati final

Karolina Pliskova's excellent record against Garbine Muguruza came to an end in Cincinnati as she was beaten 6-3 6-2. The Spaniard will face Simona Halep in the final.

Garbine Muguruza defeated Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 62.   -  Getty Images

Garbine Muguruza ended her Karolina Pliskova hoodoo to progress to the Western and Southern Open final courtesy of a classy 6-3, 6-2 victory on Saturday. The Wimbledon champion had lost to the World No. 1 on their previous six encounters, including in the semifinals in Cincinnati 12 months ago.

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However, at the same stage of the competition it was Muguruza celebrating in front of the American spectators this time around with a deserved victory. Pliskova was under pressure right from the off and Muguruza converted a fourth break point in the opening game with a thumping double backhand winner.

Two more break-point chances passed the two-time Grand Slam winner by in game seven, but it proved a short reprieve for Pliskova who was broken again when serving to stay in the set when trailing 5-3. Muguruza was flawless on serve in the first set, but was under pressure in two lengthy service games at the beginning of the second.

She held firm, though, and made the crucial breakthrough when a fierce backhand opened up a 4-2 lead. Pliskova saved four match points on her own serve, but the defending champion went long with the fifth as Muguruza progressed to a first final in Cincinnati where Simona Halep or Sloane Stephens await.

Halep on course for No.1

Simona Halep cruised past wildcard Sloane Stephens to set up a Western and Southern Open final against Garbine Muguruza and close on the world number one spot on Saturday.

The Romanian was a class above Stephens in a classy 6-2, 6-1 victory that came in just 55 minutes and she has still not dropped a set throughout the tournament.

Halep has never lifted the title in Cincinnati, her previous best coming in 2015 when she was runner-up to Serena Williams, but if she manages the feat she will become the new world number one.