Ashleigh Barty vs. Garbine Muguruza, Doha QF Preview

??? Qatar Total Open, Doha QF Preview + prediction:
?? (1) Ashleigh Barty vs. ?? (11) Garbine Muguruza

A blockbuster quarter-final clash at the 2020 Qatar Total Open sees the top seeded Ashleigh Barty come up against a red-hot Garbine Muguruza. A heavyweight battle between a pair of Grand Slam champions. It is Barty who heads into this clash as the favourite, the world number 1 holds a 2-1 H2H record over the Spaniard but is unlikely to have things all her own way against a resurgent opponent.

Ash Barty hasn’t had to do much at all to advance to the final 8 in Doha. Barty received a bye in the first round before easily defeating Laura Siegemund 6-3 6-2. Barty then received a walkover into the quarter-finals as Elena Rybakina pulled out of their scheduled third round match. It is therefore hard to get a read of how well Barty is playing this week.

Garbine Muguruza has overcome 3 decent opponents to reach the final 8 stage in Doha. The 11th seed started the event with a hard-fought 7-5 5-7 6-3 win over Daria Kasatkina. Muguruza picked up her level in her next couple of matches to record straight set wins over Ajla Tomljanovic and Dayana Yastremska, 6-1 6-2 over the Aussie and 6-2 6-4 over the Ukrainian.

Ash Barty has won 2 of the 3 previous meetings over Muguruza. It was Barty who won the most recent match between the pair, a 6-3 6-4 victory at the Hopman Cup last year. It was Muguruza who won their most recent tour-level match, a 6-0 3-6 6-2 victory at the Rogers Cup in 2017.

I’m going to go for the upset here. Muguruza has generally played the better tennis of the pair in 2020 and has the power to dominate this match-up. If Muguruza is patient with the Barty slice and picks the right moments to attack, she should be too strong, especially on a relevantly slow hard court. Muguruza has already beaten 3 decent opponents this week, she has a good rhythm and confidence. Barty is vulnerable.

Prediction: Garbine Muguruza to defeat Ashleigh Barty in 3 sets
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