The Spanish Garbine Muguruza celebrates her victory against the Romanian Simona Halep REUTERS / Kai Pfaffenbach
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Garbine Muguruza won 7-6 (8) 7-5 in the fight against number three in the world, Simona Halep, and reached her first Australian Open final on Thursday.
The unseeded Spaniard arrived at Melbourne Park with little expectations, but now has to face America's Sofia Kenin to claim her third major title after emerging from a time in the Grand Slam.
Muguruza was dragged into a sawmill by Halep, a former finalist in Melbourne Park, at a scorching temperature of 40 degrees Celsius in the Rod Laver Arena.
The Spaniard had to retire 5: 4 in the second set and then held on to win a second match point when the Romanian Halep failed to clear the goal in an attempted pass.
The 26-year-old Muguruza would not have been on many lists of participants before the tournament, but the class and fighting spirit that drove her to the French Open 2016 and 2017 Wimbledon titles has returned in Australia.
"You start every day, I did that," she said.
"Very excited to be in the final, it's a long way. I still have a match on Saturday.
"I didn't think I was down. I thought," Go on and you will have your chance someday. "
“I know I was facing Simona and it was going to be a tough game. So I just hung around and fought with all the energy I had. "
Edited by Peter Rutherford