(Reuters) - Fourth-seeded Spaniard Garbine Muguruza won a lengthy battle against Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 6-2 5-7 7-5 on a hot and windy day to reach the Cincinnati Open semi-finals on Friday.
Wimbledon champion Muguruza stuck out her tongue in exasperation after finally prevailing in the two hour 45-minute contest between the two grand slam winners.
Playing a day after deadly attacks killed a total of 14 people in Barcelona and the coastal town of Cambrils in Spain, Muguruza wore a white visor with a black ribbon as a tribute.
“Barcelona te siento. Barcelona I feel you,” Muguruza wrote on Twitter after the match.
Next up for Muguruza is world number one Karolina Pliskova, who won back-to-back matches on Friday.
The Czech first defeated Italian qualifier Camila Giorgi 6-3 4-6 6-0 in a match postponed by a day because of rain.
The top seed then took another step towards successfully defending her title by overpowering former world number one Caroline Wozniacki 6-2 6-4 in her second match on Friday.
Pliskova had 27 winners to Wozniacki’s eight with only 13 unforced errors compared to the sixth-seeded Dane’s 19.
American Sloane Stephens continued her strong form following her return at Wimbledon after an 11-month absence with a foot injury by beating Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova 2-6 6-3 6-4.
The win set up a quarter-final with German Julia Goerges who upset fifth-seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina 7-5 6-4.
Reporting by Rory Carroll; ediitng by Ken Ferris