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Dubai tennis: Muguruza and Kasatkina complete quarters line-up

Reigning Wimbledon champion keen to carry forward her form at Dubai Women’s Open

Image Credit: AP
Garbine Muguruza of Spain returns the ball to Catherine Bellis of the U.S. during the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018.

Dubai: Garbine Muguruza and Daria Kasatkina completed the quarter-final line-up at the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open on a day when play ended in the early hours of Thursday.

Pushing Wednesday’s play until 1.54am on Thursday was the 7pm match between Great Britain’s Johanna Konta and Daria Kasatkina that went into the record books for being the fifth-longest match in tournament history since records and statistics were maintained from the 2008 edition.

After the opening set won by Konta in 59 minutes, the second set that went into a tie-breaker lasted for 76 minutes before Kasatkina shut out the decider in 44 minutes for a total of 179 minutes on court. That long match delayed the start of the final match between Garbine Muguruza and Catherine Bellis well past midnight.

A runner-up last week in Doha, Muguruza won in straight sets against the American teenager but not before some late second set hiccups. The Spaniard served off the opening set in 42 minutes and then looked headed for a comfortable win as she broke early on a couple of occasions to go 3-0 clear.

But Bellis just dug in and broke back to trail 1-3 only to see her opponent break her a third time and ease 4-1 in the clear. However, the wild card entrant won the next three games to draw even at 4-4. From then it was evenly poised till Muguruza broke a fourth time to make it 6-5 and then served out to finish set and match 6-3, 7-5 in an hour and 41 minutes to seal a re-match within a week against Caroline Garcia.

Earlier, wild card Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber had joined Karolina Pliskova, Elena Vesnina, Caroline Garcia and defending champion Elina Svitolina into the last eight stages of the tournament.

Wednesday’s results

Centre Court

Karolina Pliskova bt Carla Suarez Navarro 5-7, 6-2, 6-4; Naomi Osaka bt Anett Kontaveit 6-2, 7-6; Angleique Kerber bt Sara Errani 6-4, 6-2; Elena Vesnina bt Jelena Ostapenko 6-1, 7-6; Caroline Garcia bt Ekaterina Makarova 6-4, 6-2; Elina Svitolina vs Qiang Wang 6-1, 5-7, 6-2; Daria Kasatkina bt Johanna Konta 4-6, 7-6, 6-2; Garbine Muruguza bt Catherine Bellis 6-3, 7-5.

Thursday Order of Play:

Centre Court (start at 2pm) Elina Svitolina vs Naomi Osaka; Karolina Pliskova vs Angelique Kerber; (Not before 7 pm) Caroline Garcia vs Garbine Muguruza; Daria Kasatkina vs Elena Vesnina.

Court 1 (start at 2pm) Alicja Rosolska/Abigail Spears vs Latisha Chan/Andrea Sestini Hlavackova.