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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Sofia Kenin vs. Garbine Muguruza, Australian Open Final Preview

?? Australian Open, FINAL ? preview + prediction:
?? (14) Sofia Kenin vs. ?? Garbine Muguruza

The 2020 Australian Open final promises to be an epic as 2019’s most improved player: Sofia Kenin, comes up against 2-time former Grand Slam champion: Garbine Muguruza. The pair head into this match on a high after stunning upset victories in their respective semi-final matches.

Sofia Kenin continues to reach new heights, the American will enter the top 10 for the first time after this tournament. Kenin cruised through the first week of the event with straight set wins over Martina Trevisan, Ann Li and Shuai Zhang. It was in the fourth round where Kenin dropped her only set of the tournament thus far, the 14th seed came from a set down to defeat Cori Gauff 6/7 6/3 6/0 before easing past Ons Jabeur in straight sets. It was at the semi-final stage where Kenin made her biggest move, a 7/6 7/5 win over the top ranked Ash Barty, Kenin saved a couple of set points in each set on route to record a famous win over the Aussie.

Garbine Muguruza has been in vintage form at Melbourne Park over the last fortnight, the Spaniard is arguably playing the best tennis she has played in over 2 years. The former world number 1 made a wayward start to the tournament but managed to claim back-to-back 3 set wins over Shelby Rogers and Ajla Tomljanovic. Muguruza significantly stepped up her level in the third round to defeat Elina Svitolina 6/1 6/2 before beating Kiki Bertens 6/3 6/3 to record back-to-back top 10 wins for the first time since Doha 2018. Muguruza defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7/5 6/3 before securing a spot in a maiden Australian Open final with an extremely impressive 7/6 7/5 win over Simona Halep. Muguruza has been amazingly tough in the important moments of every single one of her matches this tournament.

It was Sofia Kenin who won the only previous match between the pair, a 6/0 2/6 6/2 win for the American at the China Open last year. Kenin will face a very different Muguruza on this occasion, is the American good enough to maintain her perfect record over the Spaniard?

Yes, I’m going to side with Kenin here. Granted Muguruza is a 2-time former Grand Slam champion and therefore has the edge in terms of experience. However, Kenin is unfazed and on a mission. I doubt Kenin will be troubled by the occasion, if anything she will rise to the occasion. Over the last 12 months it is Kenin who has been the far more consistent and reliable player, I’m going to give that more importance than immediate form because both are clearly playing well at this event. Kenin has the versatility to disrupt the rhythm of Muguruza as well as the power to the Spaniard, I think this is a good match-up for Kenin, the American can go all the way.

Prediction: Sofia Kenin to defeat Garbine Muguruza in 3 sets
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Simona Halep vs. Garbine Muguruza, Australian Open SF Preview

?? Australian Open, SF #2 preview + prediction:
?? (4) Simona Halep vs. ?? Garbine Muguruza

A blockbuster semi-final clash sees a pair of 2-time Grand Slam champions do battle when Simona Halep comes up against Garbine Muguruza. This is a heavyweight battle between two players in superb form that know how to go all the way in major events, expect a hot contest!

Simona Halep is the only semi-finalist that hasn’t dropped a set all tournament. Halep safely moved through the first week with straight set wins over Jennifer Brady, Katie Boulter and Yulia Putintseva. The reigning Wimbledon champion has stepped up her level in the last few matches to defeat Elise Mertens 6/4 6/4 and crush Anett Kontaveit 6/1 6/1 to reach the final 4 in Melbourne for the second time.

Garbine Muguruza made a nervy start to the event, the Spaniard required 3 sets to defeat Shelby Rogers and Ajla Tomljanovic in her first couple of matches but has really stepped up her level thereafter. Muguruza claimed back-to-back top 10 victories in the third and fourth rounds with a 6/1 6/2 win over Elina Svitolina before defeating Kiki Bertens 6/3 6/3. Muguruza booked her spot in the final 4 at Melbourne Park for the first time with a 7/5 6/3 win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

It is Garbine Muguruza who heads into this clash with the head-to-head advantage. Muguruza holds a 3-2 H2H record over the Romanian, more importantly the Spaniard has won all 3 of the previous matches between the pair on a hard court. It was Halep who won the most recent match between the pair, a dominant 6-1 6-4 win at the semi-final stage of Roland Garros in 2018 on route to winning the title.

I’m going to side with Halep here. Halep is simply the far more consistent and reliable of the two. Whilst Muguruza has been playing great tennis in her last few matches, this will be a step up in opposition. Halep has the game to absorb and redirect the power of Muguruza. Halep played one of her best matches in recent times in the semi-finals, a similar effort here will see her reach a second Australian Open final.

Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Garbine Muguruza in 2 sets
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Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Garbine Muguruza, Australian Open QF Preview

?? Australian Open, QF preview + prediction:
?? (30) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. ?? Garbine Muguruza

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Garbine Muguruza will go head-to-head with a place in the semi-finals up for grabs at the 2020 Australian Open. Not many would have expected Pavlyuchenkova or Muguruza to be featuring at this stage of the tournament, but both have been playing exceptional tennis and will head into this quarter-final clash full of confidence. Who will emerge victorious?

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will be competing at the quarter-final stage in Melbourne for the second consecutive year and for the third time out of the last 4 years. This will be Pavlyuchenkova’s 6th quarter-final appearance at a Grand Slam but the Russian has never made it to the semi-finals of a major, perhaps it will be 6th time lucky?

Pavlyuchenkova moved through the first week of the event without dropping a set. The 30th seed started the event with a 6/1 7/5 win over Nina Stojanovic before battling past Taylor Townsend 7/5 7/6. Pavlyuchenkova made her biggest move at the third round stage where she eliminated the second seeded Karolina Pliskova thanks to a 7/6 7/6 triumph. The Russian booked her spot in the final 8 with a hard-fought 6/7 7/6 6/2 win over the 17th seeded Angelique Kerber.

Garbine Muguruza is playing the best tennis she has played in years to reach the final 8 at Melbourne Park for the second time in her career. The 2-time former Grand Slam champion was rusty in her first couple of matches of the event, requiring 3 sets on both occasions, a 0/6 6/1 6/0 win over Shelby Rogers followed by a 6/3 3/6 6/3 win over Ajla Tomljanovic. Muguruza seriously picked up her level to advance to the final 8 with back-to-back wins over top 10 opponents, a 6/1 6/2 smashing of the 5th seeded Elina Svitolina before beating the 9th seeded Kiki Bertens 6/3 6/3. Muguruza’s level over the last few matches has been reminiscent of the form that saw her become a major champion.

Muguruza has won both of the completed matches between the pair, both in straight sets. A 7/5 6/1 win in Cincinnati in 2016 followed by a 6/1 6/2 in Birmingham in 2018. Expect Pavlyuchenkova to be far more competitive on this occasion.

I’m going to go for the upset here and side with Pavlyuchenkova. This is a tough match to call, both players head into this clash in great form and both play a very similar game. Pavlyuchenkova and Muguruza both command the court with their strong groundstrokes, both are efficient at moving up the court to finish points. It will come down to who can execute better on the day, I believe it is time for Pavlyuchenkova to take the next step, with Muguruza’s ex-coach by her side I think an in-form Pavlyuchenkova will come up with a plan to undo the Spaniard.

Prediction: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to defeat Garbine Muguruza in 3 sets
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Elina Svitolina vs. Garbine Muguruza, Australian Open R3 Preview

?? Australian Open, R3 preview + prediction:
?? (5) Elina Svitolina vs. ?? Garbine Muguruza

A blockbuster third round clash at Melbourne Park on Saturday sees the 5th seeded Elina Svitolina take on a resurgent Garbine Muguruza. This is an early heavyweight battle at the first major of the year, two players that expect to be featuring at the later stages of major events doing battle for a spot in the round of 16.

Elina Svitolina arrived in Melbourne without a win to her name in 2020 but has done well to move through her first couple of matches at Melbourne Park without dropping a set. The 5th seed started the tournament with a 6/4 7/5 win over Katie Boulter before winning a late night clash with Lauren Davis 6/2 7/6. Svitolina is typically the type of player to get better and better as a tournament progresses, the Ukrainian will certainly need to raise her level against Muguruza in the next round in what will be her first major test of the tournament thus far.

Garbine Muguruza has come through a couple of rollercoaster matches to reach the third round at Melbourne Park. Muguruza started the week with a bizarrely lopsided 0/6 6/1 6/0 win over Shelby Rogers before battling past a nervy Ajla Tomljanovic 6/3 3/6 6/3. Muguruza’s ranking has significantly dropped over the last 12 months but the 2-time former Grand Slam champion is showing signs that she is getting her game back together, albeit in patches.

This has historically been a favourable match-up for Svitolina. It is the Ukrainian who holds a 5-2 head-to-head record over Muguruza at the tour level. All 5 of Svitolina’s victories over Muguruza have been on a hard court, including their most recent match which ended in a 7/5 6/2 victory for Svitolina in Wuhan late last year.

I’m going to side with Svitolina here. History shows that this is a good match-up for Svitolina and it is easy to see why. Svitolina is one of the toughest competitors on tour and also one of the most consistent, she gives nothing away for free and fights for every single point. Muguruza is a streaky player who often goes missing for periods in a match, we have seen that from the Spaniard in both of her matches at this event. Svitolina will always be there to take advantage of that drop and that is why she has a strong record over the Spaniard. Svitolina is simply too solid, Svitolina has the defensive skills, variety and stamina to cause Muguruza a whole heap of problems on a hard court.

Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Garbine Muguruza in 2 sets
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Garbine Muguruza vs. Alison Riske, US Open R1 Preview

???? US OPEN, R1 match preview
?? (24) Garbine Muguruza vs. ?? Alison Riske

One of the toughest opening round match-ups in the top half of the draw sees the 24th seeded Garbine Muguruza take on the in-form Alison Riske in New York. Muguruza hasn’t won a match in just under 3 months whilst Alison Riske has won 17 matches during Muguruza’s winless stretch. An upset is certainly on the cards heading into this match, however Muguruza is a 2-time Grand Slam champion for a reason and has a point to prove.

Garbine Muguruza is one of the WTA tour’s most mystifying talents, at her best she is one of the best players in the world, a former world number 1 and a 2-time former Grand Slam champion. At her worst she can lose to anyone and is currently in the midst of a slump. Muguruza made a good start to the season but hasn’t won a match since her run to the round of 16 at Roland Garros. To make matters worse, the US Open has historically been Muguruza’s least successful major. Muguruza only played the one match during the US Open series before arriving in New York, a tough opening round loss at the hands of Madison Keys in Cincinnati.

Alison Riske has had the best couple of months of her career. The American’s grass court season was outstanding and more recently she has played some good matches on the hard courts of North America. Riske made it through the qualifying draw in Toronto before succumbing to Karolina Pliskova in the second round in a match that went the distance. However, most recently Riske did suffer a disappointing opening round loss to Maria Sharapova in Cincinnati, perhaps an excusable loss down to fatigue. It will be interesting to see how Riske regroups for New York, a tournament where she has lost in the opening round on 5 consecutive occasions.

Muguruza holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Riske. The most recent match-up between the pair took place in Tokyo last year where the American claimed a comprehensive 6-1 6-2 victory.

I’m going to side with Muguruza here. To say Muguruza is due for a win would be an understatement whilst it seems that Riske may have hit a wall in Cincinnati after all the tennis she has played over the last few months. Riske’s poor history in New York is a cause for concern especially against an opponent who usually thrives on the big stage. Muguruza should be healthy and motivated heading into this match and that spells danger, a focused Muguruza is too powerful for Riske and should get the job done.

Prediction: Garbine Muguruza to defeat Alison Riske in 3 sets

Elina Svitolina vs. Garbine Muguruza, Roland Garros R3 Preview

???? Roland Garros, R3 Preview
?? (9) Elina Svitolina vs. ?? (19) Garbine Muguruza

A blockbuster third round clash from Roland Garros sees Elina Svitolina and Garbine Muguruza renew hostilities. This is a heavyweight battle between two genuine contenders in Paris, a really tough test for both players this early in the tournament. Svitolina has had the better of this match-up of late, but it is Muguruza who seemingly heads into this match with momentum on her side, who will prevail?

Garbine Muguruza of Spain in action during her first-round match at the 2019 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Elina Svitolina arrives in Paris in poor form and with niggling injury concerns. Svitolina put those concerns aside as she came through a potentially tricky opening round match-up against Venus Williams with relative ease, Svitolina prevailed 6-3 6-3. The 9th seed received a lucky break in the second round as her scheduled opponent Kateryna Kozlova withdrew from the match due to injury, handing Svitolina a walkover into the next round. In a rare anomaly Svitolina will have 4 days off between her first and third round matches, probably a blessing for Svitolina who came into the tournament with injury concerns.

Garbine Muguruza made a nervy start to the tournament as she was forced to come from a set down to defeat Taylor Townsend. Muguruza eventually recovered from a slow start to claim a 5-7 6-2 6-2 win over the American. The 2016 champion produced a far more consistent performance in the second round where she easily defeated Johanna Larsson 6-4 6-1 to set up a blockbuster clash with Svitolina, an opponent the Spaniard has struggled against in recent times.

Svitolina holds a 5-3 head-to-head record over Muguruza. Svitolina has won 4 of the last 5 completed matches between the pair, including a comfortable 6-1 6-2 victory in their most recent match in Dubai.

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Garbine Muguruza vs. Johanna Larsson, Roland Garros R2 Preview

???? Roland Garros, R2 Preview
?? (19) Garbine Muguruza vs. ?? Johanna Larsson

Garbine Muguruza made a shaky start to her 2019 Roland Garros campaign on Sunday and will be looking for a more straightforward victory on Wednesday when she takes on Sweden’s Johanna Larsson in the second round.

Garbine Muguruza of Spain in action during her first-round match at the 2019 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Muguruza was forced to fight from a set down to defeat Taylor Townsend in her opening round match in Paris. Muguruza played a messy first set but steadied to claim a 5-7 6-2 6-2 victory. The 2016 Roland Garros champion has consistently performed well at this event and despite poor recent form she is always a threat at this tournament.

Johanna Larson booked a second round showdown with the 19th seed thanks to an important 6-3 6-4 win over Magdalena Rybarikova. Every victory at this level is big for Larsson at this stage of her career, she will enter her second round clash against Muguruza with nothing to lose and a lot to prove.

This will be the first career meeting between Muguruza and Larsson

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Garbine Muguruza vs. Taylor Townsend, Roland Garros R1 Preview

???? Roland Garros, R1 Preview
?? (19) Garbine Muguruza vs. ?? Taylor Townsend

Garbine Muguruza kick-starts her 2019 Roland Garros campaign with an opening round clash against America’s Taylor Townsend. The pressure is on the 2016 Roland Garros champion who is defending semi-finalist points from last year, an early round exit in Paris for Muguruza will see her already depleted ranking drop even further, down to a low she has not experienced in a long time by the former world number 1.

Garbine Muguruza of Spain during practice at the 2019 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Garbine Muguruza’s preparation for the second Grand Slam of the year has been less than ideal. Muguruza suffered an opening round exit in Madrid where she was upset by Petra Martic in straight sets before she was forced to retire injured in her third round match with Victoria Azarenka in Rome due to a left thigh injury. Nevertheless, Roland Garros has been Muguruza’s most successful tournament in her career and she usually seems to find a good level here no matter what the circumstances are in the lead up to the tournament.

Taylor Townsend has been languishing at the ITF level over the last little while where her results have been less than impressive. The good news for Townsend is that she has progressed past the opening round in Paris in the last 3 years, something she has never achieved at any other major. Townsend’s heavy, versatile game can make her a dangerous opponent on this surface.

This will be the first career meeting between Muguruza and Townsend, will the American’s awkward game cause the former champion any troubles?

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Kiki Bertens vs. Garbine Muguruza, Indian Wells R4 Preview

??? BNPPO19, Indian Wells – R4 Preview
?? (7) Kiki Bertens vs. ?? (20) Garbine Muguruza

An intriguing fourth round clash from the Californian desert sees the 7th seeded Kiki Bertens take on the 20th seeded Garbine Muguruza. This promises to be an exciting contest between two powerful opponents who are both well suited to the conditions in Indian Wells. Can Muguruza recapture her top form to take down Bertens?

Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands in action during her third-round match at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Kiki Bertens is continuing to impress and continuing to improve. Bertens is now on the verge of cracking into the world’s top 5 for the first time, a few more wins in Indian Wells would guarantee that impressive achievement. Bertens cruised through her opening round match of the event, beating Magda Linette 6-4 6-1 after receiving a bye through the first round. Bertens faced and overcame a far greater test in the third round against Johanna Konta, Bertens saved several set points in a tight opening set before claiming a hard-fought 7-6 6-4 victory.

Garbine Muguruza advanced to the fourth round in Indian Wells thanks to her first victory over a top 10 opponent in 12 months, albeit via retirement. Muguruza struck gold as she was handed victory as Serena Williams retired from their third round clash as Muguruza led 6-3 1-0 having won 7 games in a row. Muguruza hasn’t had to play much tennis this week having easily defeated Lauren Davis 6-1 6-3 in the second round after receiving a bye through the opening round. We will get a better indication as to where Muguruza is at right now when she takes on Bertens.

Bertens holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Muguruza, however all of those victories for Bertens were over 5 years ago outside of the main tour. The only tour level meeting between the pair was last year in Sydney, Muguruza won 6-3 7-6. Bertens has been on a meteoric rise since their last meeting whilst Muguruza has consistently underachieved.

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