Muguruza dethrones Pliskova to reach Cincinnati final

Rafael Nadal Karolina Pliskova score quick wins on day of upsets in Cincinnati Masters

Second-ranked Halep eliminated British seventh seed Johanna Konta 6-4, 7-6 (7/1) to book a semi-final date with U.S. wild card Sloane Stephens.

Pliskova, who faces Italian qualifier Camila Giorgi in a later third-round match, must also fight off Ukraine's Elina Svitolina, who won her fifth WTA title of the year last week in Toronto to reach a career-high fourth in the rankings.

But Kyrgios broke again to lead 6-5 and this time end matters with his 10th ace after 80 minutes, improving to 2-2 all-time against Nadal and booking a Saturday semifinal against Spain's David Ferrer.

Halep has yet to drop a set in the tournament and appears to be peaking at just the right time, looking to become the first Romanian women to claim the top ranking.

She said, in her post-match press conference: "I think I was very precise with my shots. I was very refreshed coming back out there to finish the match".

Pliskova, who faces losing her No. 1 spot this weekend, said: "I don't think I played my best tennis today".

Still, Muguruza - playing in her first final on American soil - knows Halep is a tough foe.

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Defending champion Karolina Pliskova pulled off a doubleheader sweep Friday at the Western & Southern Open, reaching the semifinals by winning a pair of matches with little rest in-between. I don't know. I wanted just to be more aggressive, you know, trying to take my shots, don't think a lot about her, because I know she played very aggressive, as well. I felt pretty good out there - under control. "Everything went my way".

Elsewhere, Spanish Garbine Muguruza won 2-1 against American Madison Keys winning with the last match point.

Sixth-ranked Spaniard Muguruza ousted Russian eighth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 5-7, 7-5 in a matchup of two-time Grand Slam winners that lasted two hours, 45 minutes. "I have no pressure", Halep said. "I think the energy was pretty low from my side". "For sure, even if I didn't win a tournament, I'm very happy that I'm getting deep into the tournament".

Wimbledon champion Muguruza set the tone in her clash after breaking the Czech in the very first game.

She gained a second-set edge with a backhand victor on break point for a 4-2 lead before closing it out in 1 hour, 19 minutes. The tournament's top seeds then had only a few hours to eat, rest and prepare for quarterfinals matches.

"That's never easy", she said. "So I hope to keep it going". That's why maybe I can play. I saw her a little bit these days, so tough. Bulgarian seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov defeated Japan's Yuichi Sugita 6-2, 6-1 to reach the semi-finals against the victor of a later match between Americans John Isner and Jared Donaldson. Nadal could meet Australian Nick Kyrgios in Friday s quarter-finals. I knew that he's going to serve big, bold serves. "I just took it". "I'm really happy about it". He certainly is in good form.

"I lost five times against him".

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