Jelena Ostapenko overcame a sluggish start to stun world number one Garbine Muguruza in the quarter-finals of the Wuhan Open on Thursday and the Latvian suggested she plays more confidently with less time to prepare.
The French Open champion, who won the Korea Open title in Seoul last week, rallied from a set down to beat the Spaniard 1-6 6-3 6-2 and set up a last-four encounter against in-form Australian Ashleigh Barty.
By registering her first win over the Wimbledon champion, Ostapenko moved a step closer to her third title of the year and the 20-year-old eighth seed felt that playing in back-to-back tournaments had brought out the best in her.
“Sometimes it’s actually even better when you don’t have that much time to prepare,” she told the WTA website (wtatennis.com) after her victory over the top seed.
“Sometimes you come so many days before, you get prepared really well for the tournament, you go out and lose first round,” she added.
“When you come from another tournament, especially I won the tournament, I’m more confident. “I just came from there. First match I was, ‘Okay, how I’m going to do? Just my best. What happens, that happens.’ Then I won, and now I’m in the semi-final.”
Muguruza, who took a medical timeout before the final set to treat a thigh injury, said she was undone by Ostapenko’s all-out attacking game.
“I think she played very aggressively,” Muguruza said. “She had a lot of good shots, especially in the right moments I think she picked the good ones and went for it,” she added.
Ostapenko also expects a tough fight from Barty, who upset former world number one Karolina Pliskova 4-6 7-6(3) 7-6(2) in another last-eight clash.
“I played against her this year in Rome,” Ostapenko said. “I think she’s a great player. Still young. Yeah, hopefully if I can show my best we’ll have a good match.”
In the other semi-final encounter on Friday, Greece’s Maria Sakkari takes on Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia.