Guadalajara, Mexico: France's Caroline Garcia overpowered Victoria Azarenka in straight sets to reach the semi-finals of the WTA 1000 Guadalajara Open yesterday.
Third-seed Garcia was always in control against her 10th-seeded opponent from Belarus, winning 6-3, 6-4 in 1hr 37min.
The 29-year-old Frenchwoman will face Maria Sakkari in the last four on Friday after the second seed from Greece eased past Colombia's Emiliana Arango 6-3, 6-4.
Garcia, who is chasing the 12th title of her career, used her powerful serve to gain the upper hand on Azarenka, slamming down 10 aces during the match.
Garcia was also able to save no fewer than 11 break points to deny Azarenka any chance of an opening.
"It's always tricky," said Garcia. "She had a lot of break point opportunities, but I served really well at those points, so I guess I have to thank my serve."
The win ensured that Garcia, the world number 11, will move into the top 10 at the end of this tournament.
In other quarter-final action on yesterday, former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin's recent resurgence continued as she overpowered 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez of Canada 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 6-1 to reach the last four.
Kenin, 24, has gradually worked her way back up the rankings after tumbling to 426th in the world last year following a slew of injuries and upheaval in her coaching set-up.
She has won 14 of her last 17 matches on the WTA Tour since July, and is poised to climb back into the top 30 after this tournament.
Yesterday, she secured her latest semi-final berth the hard way, advancing despite coughing up 14 double faults, with Fernandez racking up 15 aces.
"Leylah played great," Kenin said in her on-court interview.
"She started off really well in the second, and I almost came back, almost won it. I was kind of frustrated that I lost it, but she's a fighter, so I knew I needed to cool off and fight in the third."
Kenin, who also reached the semi-finals in San Diego last week, will face unseeded American Caroline Dolehide in the last four.
Dolehide defeated Italy's Martina Trevisan 3-6, 7-6 (11/9) 6-3 in their quarter-final.
The American battled into her first WTA 1000 semi-final after saving four match points in the second set before winning the deciding set.