Shanghai - Two-time
Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza crashed out of the Shenzhen Open
semi-finals on Friday with a straight-sets loss to Ekaterina
The Russian fifth seed won 6-4, 6-3 to set up a final with seventh seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan.
Spain's Muguruza, 26, had a poor run last year but showed signs in
southern China of rediscovering the form that made her world number one
However, with the Australian Open looming large, the sixth seed was
comfortably beaten by the 25-year-old Alexandrova in 77 minutes.
The powerful Russian is now just one victory away from her first WTA title.
"It was a tough match right from the start," said Alexandrova.
"I was calmer than yesterday and that helped a lot."
The 20-year-old Rybakina, who is chasing a second career title,
booked her spot in the final with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over the unseeded
Czech Kristyna Pliskova.