Spanish qualifiers Garbiñe Muguruza and Estrella Cabeza Candela will face off in the semifinals of the Hobart International after defeating Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens and Romania's Monica Niculescu, respectively, on Thursday.

The 20-year-old Muguruza moved closer to her first-ever WTA final with a convincing 6-4, 6-3 victory over the second-seeded Flipkens, a 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist.

Muguruza has come out of the gates strong in 2014 after missing the final months of last season due to a foot injury.

Her next opponent will be Cabeza Candela, who had a tougher quarterfinal struggle but came out on top 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 against Niculescu.

The 26-year-old Cabeza Candela, a late bloomer who broke into the top 100 for the first time last year, also is seeking her first WTA Tour final.

Friday's other semifinal will pit the home-crowd favorite, Australia's Samantha Stosur, against Czech Klara Zakopalova.

The Hobart International, played on the Australian island state of Tasmania, is a tune-up event for the Australian Open, which gets underway next week. EFE