By Mitch Phillips
LONDON (Reuters) - Spain's 2015 runner-up Garbine Muguruza advanced confidently into the Wimbledon semi-finals with a calmly efficient and well-controlled 6-3 6-4 victory over Russian seventh seed Svetlana Kuznetsova on Tuesday.
Muguruza, the 2016 French Open champion who lost to Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final the previous year, had just that bit more control in a hard-hitting baseline duel to follow up her victory over top seed Angelique Kerber on Monday.
Muguruza, seeded 14th, saved a tricky break point on her second service game - the only one she faced all match - but roared back to break to love en route to taking the first set.
Another early break in the second piled the pressure on Kuznetsova, the 32-year-old Russian with two grand slam titles to her name who was appearing in the quarter-finals for the first time in 10 years, and she was rarely able to threaten.
Muguruza, who has reached the last four for the loss of one set, brought up match point with an ace down the middle and won it courtesy of another big serve to earn a semi-final meeting with Magdalena Rybarikova or Coco Vandeweghe, whose match was delayed by rain.
Tuesday's victory also took the Spaniard back into the top 10 after an inconsistent year since her French Open success.
"It means a lot after last year losing in (the) second round, to be able to go deep in the tournament still with chances," she said.
"Today with the (wet) conditions it was tough to be able to hit super-clean, make a lot of winners. I had to work the point more."
With nobody producing stand-out performances in the women's draw Muguruza has a real chance of becoming the first Spanish champion since Conchita Martinez - her stand-in coach here - in 1994.
"I'm feeling pretty good but a lot of things have to click to be able to win a major," she said. "I'm being aggressive and not making a lot of errors.
"But it's also just knowing how to deal with these important matches, knowing that you're playing in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon but need that combination of not being too anxious, trying to free your mind, just trying to concentrate on the tennis part, not everything else."
Kuznetsova said Muguruza deserved her victory but was less impressed by what she claimed was some "inappropriate" coaching from her rival's courtside team - legal on the women's tour but not at the grand slams.
"It's her physio, she was talking to her all the time, we all speak Spanish," she said. "I know she acts like this all the time."
The Russian was also unimpressed by her quick turnaround from Monday's action. "I finished doubles at 7 o'clock last night. I checked the schedule and I was really mad," she said. "Why do I play first, not second? They said it was because of TV. The TV is more important for the tennis than the players? Probably."
(Editing by Ed Osmond and Christian Radnedge)