In a battle between two of the tour’s most in-form players, former world No. 1 Garbiñe Muguruza triumphed in a major way over Adelaide International champion Iga Swiatek, sweeping aside the reigning Roland Garros champion, 6-0, 6-4, to reach the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships quarterfinals.

"I think I played a good match from the beginning," Muguruza said in her post-match press conference. "I was in control of the score and taking the advantage."

With two runner-up finishes and a solid fourth-round result at the Australian Open, the No. 9-seeded Muguruza is displaying a week-in, week-out consistency like never to start the 2021 season, seamlessly adapting from Doha to Dubai with a 63-minute win that snapped the Pole’s six-match winning streak on Center Court.

"It felt like every point was very fast. We didn't have that many long rallies today, so it felt like in a blink, you could be 3-0 up or 3-0 down. The way we play on a surface like this, it's not going to make for a lot of 20-shot rallies."

Facing off for the first time, the highly-anticipated clash between Muguruza and Swiatek was undoubtedly the round of 16’s marquee match, especially after each had put down decisive opening victories against Irina-Camelia Begu and Misaki Doi, respectively.

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Muguruza seals Swiatek showdown, Pegula overpowers Pliskova in Dubai

Muguruza seals Swiatek showdown, Pegula overpowers Pliskova in Dubai

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The Spaniard’s heavier ball helped her gain immediate ascendency and hit through Swiatek’s whippier topspin, saving two break points in her opening service game to win the final nine points on serve and drop a first-set bagel.

"I felt even better today than yesterday," Muguruza said. "These two matches have given me such a good feeling for this tournament after rushing to come here without any hit beforehand."

Overawed by Muguruza’s formidable serve and return, Swiatek could only improve after a set that saw her strike just two winners to eight unforced errors.

"I was feeling stressed at the beginning," Swiatek said after the match. "I couldn't find anything in my game I could catch on to, and was focusing mainly on the mistakes I was making. I've been having many mishits here in practice and in my first round; today was probably the worst day for that. It happens, but it's kind of hard to win a WTA match when you're hitting more with the frame than with the strings!"

She did so in some style, holding to open the second set and reversing a 1-3 deficit to put herself within distance of a deciding set.

Muguruza seals Swiatek showdown, Pegula overpowers Pliskova in Dubai

Muguruza seals Swiatek showdown, Pegula overpowers Pliskova in Dubai

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"After the first set, there was a lot of anger in me, so it was hard to start with a clean slate. Sometimes you just have days like this," Swiatek said. "It's hard for me to find a reason for why I was playing like this. If I knew why, I could have changed it!"

Currently coached from afar as Conchita Martinez tested positive for COVID-19 in Doha, Muguruza continued to mix outright dominance with clutch play, digging out of another close game on serve to score the crucial break on Swiatek. An ace on match point secured her victory in just over an hour.

"Conchita has been telling me how nice it is to watch me on TV," Muguruza said. "When you watch football or another sport, you can see everything, every detail. On the other hand, the TV is a little bit late, and she wants to be on top of every point and every moment. All things considered, we're doing well with the circumstances."

In all, she struck 13 winners to 10 unforced errors and converted five of seven break-point opportunities to book a quarterfinal encounter with No. 3 seed Aryna Sabalenka in what will be a rematch of their Doha three-setter from last week.

Sabalenka similarly eased into the last eight without dropping a set, dispatching No. 15 seed Anett Kontaveit, 6-3, 6-2, earlier in the afternoon.

Muguruza seals Swiatek showdown, Pegula overpowers Pliskova in Dubai

Muguruza seals Swiatek showdown, Pegula overpowers Pliskova in Dubai

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While No. 10 seed Elise Mertens joined Muguruza and Sabalenka in the quarterfinals by defeating former world No. 4 Caroline Garcia in straight sets, other seeds faced upsets as No. 2 seed Karolina Pliskova bowed out to surging American Jessica Pegula for a second straight week, 6-0, 6-2.

"It's definitely a weird feeling because I beat her in Doha and that was a big win, and to back it up the very next week, I had more nerves because it's almost like you're expected to win again," Pegula said. "Still, it's a new week, and a totally different match, so I tried to think of it like that while knowing what I needed to do, stick with my gameplan, and see what happens. I'm just glad I was able to handle it pretty well."

The American is fresh off quarterfinal and semifinal runs at the Australian Open and Qatar Total Open, and maintained her mastery of the former world No. 1 in 50 minutes flat.

"After a 6-0 first set, I wasn't surprised when she broke me because I knew she'd start playing better at some point. I tried not to let that bother me too much. Sometimes when you're playing well, it's easy for things to slip and go in the other direction."

No. 6 seed Belinda Bencic’s 24th birthday party didn’t go exactly as planned thanks to Russian wildcard Anastasia Potapova. The 19-year-old backed up her own impressive Melbourne form to knock out the Swiss star, 6-1, 2-6, 7-5, and reach the biggest quarterfinal of her young career.

Fellow teen Coco Gauff made similar inroads after overcoming Tereza Martincova, 6-4, 6-2, and awaits Teichmann, who took the young American to a final-set tie-break at the Gippsland Trophy back in January.

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Muguruza seals Swiatek showdown, Pegula overpowers Pliskova in Dubai

Muguruza seals Swiatek showdown, Pegula overpowers Pliskova in Dubai