Puig is gone, but we can root for Venezuela’s Garbiñe Muguruza

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Garbiñe Muguruza was born in Venezuela to a Basque father and a Venezuelan mother and spent her childhood in Caracas before her family moved to Barcelona, where she has trained. Interestingly, the international press always refers to her as a Venezuelan-born Spanish player (she has played for both countries), but the Spanish press always refers to her as la caraqueña (the one from Caracas). In the absence of Mónica Puig, la caraqueña is my go-to tennis player. (Well, except when Serena Williams is around, since she’s my tennis-goddess.)

Here’s the report on today’s match, which Muguruza won to reach the French Open quaterfinals, from SuperSport.com.

Garbine Muguruza of Spain blazed into the French Open quarterfinals for the third straight year on Sunday, defeating former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-4.

The 22-year-old Venezuelan-born fourth seed will next play world number 108 Shelby Rogers of the United States who defeated Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania by the same score 6-3, 6-4.

The two other scheduled fourth round ties were left unfinished when heavy rain started to fall late in the evening.

At that point, second seed Agnieszka Radwanska was 6-2, 3-0 up on Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova and sixth seed Simona Halep of Romania was leading Australian veteran Samantha Stosur 5-3.

“At the end it is always very tough. She is a player with a lot of experience and I just had to be there,” said Muguruza of her win over Kuznetsova.

“Quarterfinals is a great run and I am looking forward to improving my (best) result here.”

Muguruza is seen as one of the new stars of the women’s game after a breakthrough season in 2015 when she was runner-up to Serena Williams at Wimbledon and made the semis at the WTA Finals.

But in 30-year-old Kuznetsova she was up against one of the wiliest and experienced players on the women’s circuit with two Grand Slam titles to her name – the 2004 US Open and the 2009 French Open.

Both players had early break points on a sparsely-filled Philippe Chatrier centre court in a match of high quality.

And it was the Spaniard who struck first in the eighth game powering in a fine backhand return past the Russian to move 5-3 up.

She then served out comfortably for the set in 46 minutes.

Muguruza kept up the pressure and broke Kuznetsova’s serve twice at the start of the second set, although she dropped her own in between.

The Russian pulled back to level at 4-4, but it was Muguruza who rose to the occasion taking the next two games and clinching the win on her fifth match point.

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