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Tennis | WTA

Karolina Pliskova © Action Images

Pliskova, Muguruza to meet in semis



Defending champion Karolina Pliskova solidified her world No 1 ranking on Friday by defeating fifth-ranked Caroline Wozniacki and qualifier Camila Giorgi to reach the Cincinnati Masters semifinals.

The 25-year-old Czech, fighting to hold off Romania's second-ranked Simona Halep atop the rankings, first ousted Italian qualifier Giorgi 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 in one of five matches postponed from Thursday due to rain.

Pliskova returned two hours later and defeated Denmark's fifth-ranked Wozniacki 6-2, 6-4 to book a Saturday semifinal matchup against reigning Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza.

Four rivals could have toppled Pliskova this week, but the only one still with a hope is Halep, who faces Britain's seventh-ranked Johanna Konta in a later quarterfinal.

By virtue of Pliskova's twin wins, Halep must capture the title to swipe the top spot in next week's rankings.

Pliskova improved to 3-5 all-time against Wozniacki, who beat her last week in a Toronto quarterfinal.

The Czech, who downed Wozniacki in this year's Eastbourne and Doha finals, broke in the third game of each set and saved the only break point she faced in her first service game.

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.

"It was one of the best matches of the year," Muguruza said. "It was a battle. I fought so hard. It was very tough. We both played very well."

Muguruza displayed a black ribbon on her visor in memory of Barcelona victims.

"I had it on my mind," Muguruza said.

Ukraine's fourth-ranked Elina Svitolina lost her chance at No 1 this week when she was beaten by Julia Goerges 7-5, 6-4.

Goerges then fell in the quarterfinals after losing to American Sloane Stephens 6-1 7-6(3). Stephens will face the winner between Halep and Konta in the semifinal.



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