Muguruza burns off Stosur to reach final
Garbine Muguruza's aggression proved too much against Sam Stosur, and she will now contest the Roland-Garros decider - her first clay-court final.
If you're going to win through to your first career final on clay, you might as well make it at Roland-Garros. Garbine Muguruza - the most elegant of assassins - did just that on Suzanne-Lenglen Court on Day 13 of the 2016 French Open.
Sam Stosur could not live with her aggression, and although she fought back in the second set, she could not make it count. The No.4 seed triumphed 6-2, 6-4 to become the first Spanish woman in the final here in 16 years.
She will face Serena Williams in the final, in a repeat of their Wimbledon decider from last summer.
> READ MORE: Rapidly improving Muguruza eager to confront Serena again
A bonus for Muguruza is that her ranking is now certain to jump at least one notch to a new career high when the latest list is released next Monday. But for now all her thoughts will be on Saturday's final.
As for Stosur, her own ranking will bounce into the top 15 again and she has much cause for satisfaction from her run to the last four here. But in truth she was never convincingly in this match, not least because in the first set Muguruza's aggression simply would not allow her the chance.
When the pair met in their only previous career encounter two years ago in Madrid, the Australian took it in three sets - but back then Muguruza was a 20-year-old ranked No.37. In 2014 the 10-year age gap between them ultimately worked to Stosur's advantage, manifesting itself as a triumph of experience over youth. But this time, at 32, Stosur felt the weight of those years.
Her coach David Taylor - a partnership which reached its agreed conclusion with this match - had said Stosur needed to get Muguruza off balance if she was to win, as the Spaniard is "super strong when she is set and has time". That assessment was to prove all too prescient, as Muguruza grabbed hold of the match by attacking from the get-go to break at once.
Her own serve was vulnerable to double faults, but even so her aggression put her in absolute charge as Stosur could not keep the ball in play. The No.21 seed got on the scoreboard for 1-4 by patiently constructing a hold, and hung on for 2-5. Just 30 per cent of Muguruza's first serves were finding the target, but Stosur was firing way more errors than winners.
The Spaniard walloped successive winners for set point, and when Stosur couldn't handle the serve, that was the set.
It didn't stop there. Muguruza was intent on making her advantage count. She gave Stosur no breathing space and broke at once. Unexpectedly Stosur levelled for 2-2, in command with every stroke on Muguruza's second serve to convert her chance. But Stosur was feeling her left ankle, and in the next game she double-faulted on break point.
Muguruza stepped up the aggression again, and once more Stosur just couldn't live with it. The Spaniard was still hungry, carving through her opponent's game, snaffling the double break for 5-2 - before Stosur once again produced a startling break and hold, to get within sight of levelling yet again.
Muguruza's serve wavered with a double fault for 15-30, but from there she punched two aces for match point. Stosur found a great return, but the netcord caught her next stroke, and the match was over.