Kerber defeats Pliskova to reach Tokyo semifinal

Garbine Muguruza in action during the match

"A boost of motivation to hold this position - because I think it's the best".

"To achieve this dream I've had since I was a child gives me a lot of confidence first", Muguruza said in a courtside interview.

Muguruza, World No.1, put on a strong performance, especially in the first set, when she dropped just four points while serving, to seal the victory after a 83-minute contest, reports Efe.

World No. 1 Garbine Muguruza of Spain and No. 7 Angelique Kerber of Germany advanced on Friday to the semifinals of the Pan Pacific Open with a pair of straight set wins.

Wimbledon champion Muguruza recovered from an indifferent start to reach the last eight in Tokyo, the top seed catching fire after a trade of early breaks to rattle off the last seven games. The Spaniard broke twice and saved the only break point chance conceded to claim her 44th win of the season. Despite her poor recent form, and failure to convert break points, she stayed composed when the first set went to a tie-break, and her tactics proved successful when the Czech double-faulted to hand her the lead.

The two-time Grand Slam champion is set to play against the victor of the match between Danish Caroline Wozniacki and Slovak Dominika Cibulkova. The seventh-seeded Kerber took advantage of several unforced errors by the Czech player and won with a powerful cross-court shot on her fifth match point.

Kerber will face the woman who beat her in that Monterrey final, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, for a spot in the Tokyo final.

"I'm feeling good", said Kerber afterwards.

The Russian advanced by overcoming another Czech, Barbora Strycova, 5-7, 6-3, 6-1. It's always tough to play against [Pliskova], so I was trying to focus on my game.

The 2016 French Open victor will face defending champion Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark who went through to the semi-finals after Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova was forced to retire with a right thigh injury while trailing 3-6 7-6 (5) 3-1.



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