Halep was under pressure early in the second set, but staved off two break points to hold for 1-1. It fueled something in the No.4 seed, who sped to a 0-40 lead on the Muguruza serve the very next game. The first two break points didn’t go Halep’s way but she converted on her third chance to inch forward 2-1. Muguruza pegged her back immediately but couldn’t shake off her opponent and fell behind once again after a lengthy fifth game.
Halep finally confirmed her break by holding for 4-2. Serving for the second set, Halep brushed aside three break points but Muguruza pounced on her fourth opportunity to level for 5-5. The 26-year-old ran away with the next two games to wrap up the win and record her fourth victory from six meetings with Halep. It is Muguruza’s third top-10 success of the fortnight.
It was a taxing battle in high temperatures but Muguruza is confident she can be ready for Kenin on Saturday.
“Luckily I have 48 hours now to recover and get ready for the last match. We train all of our career to be able to play on this court, in front of this crowd,” she said.
Muguruza’s celebration was understated – a clear indication of how focused she is on finishing the job and lifting the trophy on Saturday.
“Definitely the mission is to get away from here with a big trophy. But big or small celebration, it's an incredible achievement,” said Muguruza.
“It really depends of how you're feeling. I believe in myself that I have what it takes to play these kind of matches and to be in this stage. You try to just keep it calm. There's many more matches to go. I'm sure the right moment there's going to be a big celebration. For now, it's keep it calm.”
Halep returns to No.2 in the world when the new rankings are released on Monday. She rued her missed chances and the leads she squandered.
“To lose like this hurts more, definitely. I'm in pain now, I have to admit. But life is going on,” said Halep.
“I think maybe I could be a little bit more brave in the points that were important. I didn't do that. Maybe I went a little bit defensive in those balls and I couldn't take the domination of the point. She served very well in the important moments. My return was not great today. I think it was a good match for both of us, but she was stronger in the end. In the important moments she played a little bit more braver.”