WTA Elite Trophy, Group Stage – Preview
🇪🇸 (7) Garbine Muguruza vs. 🇨🇳 (12/wc) Shuai Zhang
Garbine Muguruza begins her Zhuhai campaign on Wednesday against Chinese wild card Shuai Zhang. At her best, there is no doubt that Muguruza is one of the most dangerous players in the field this week but at her worst the Spaniard is easily capable of crashing out of the event without winning a match. Which Muguruza will show up in Zhuhai?
Garbine Muguruza will look to end a disappointing season on a high in Zhuhai. Muguruza would have expected to reach Singapore this year, instead she was reasonably lucky to even be able to compete in Zhuhai. Muguruza’s form during the last few months has been typical of her season, inconsistent and generally lackluster. Muguruza’s only small highlight of late was a run to the semi-finals in Hong Kong, most recently she was beaten in the second round by Dayan Yastremska in Luxembourg. Muguruza is the biggest name in this year’s Zhuhai field and is the only Grand Slam champion, so it will be interesting to see if her level of tennis reflects that status.
Shuai Zhang will be competing in Zhuhai for the second time, on both occasions she was awarded a wild card as the top ranked local player (not to automatically qualify). Zhang arrives in Zhuhai in good form, she has won 11 of her last 15 matches having reached the semi-finals in Osaka, the quarter-finals in Beijing and the semi-finals in Hong Kong. This is a good opportunity for Zhang to push up the rankings in front of her home crowd, it will be interesting to see if she can make the most of this opportunity.
Muguruza leads the H2H series between the pair 2-1. All 3 of their matches were within the last few years. Zhang stunned Muguruza in Doha last year. Muguruza has won the last 2 matches between the pair, including a commanding 6-3 -0 victory at the US Open earlier this year.