Wuhan QF: (5) Garbine Muguruza vs Anna Karolina Schmiedlova
Two of the tour’s most promising rising stars will go head-to-head at the quarter-final stage of the Wuhan Open on Thursday when Garbine Muguruza comes up against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova. Garbine Muguruza is now just won win away from reaching the top 5 for the first time in her career and is a couple of victories away from confirming her position at the WTA Finals in Singapore. This is also an extremely important match for Schmiedlova, a real chance to solidify her spot in the top 30 and guarantee a seeding at the first Grand Slam of 2016.
Garbine Muguruza struggled to back up her spectacular run to the final at Wimbledon during the North American summer. The Spaniard seems to have finally settled in Wuhan, producing her two best victories since Wimbledon to advance to the quarter-final stage. After receiving a bye into the second round, Muguruza began her week with a commanding 6-2 6-0 thrashing of Sloane Stephens. Garbine backed up that performance by winning 11 of the last 12 games to defeat Ana Ivanovic 4-6 6-1 6-0.
Garbine played near flawless tennis in the final two sets of her third round victory over Ivanovic, reminding us all of what she is capable of when she is at her brilliant best. Garbine will like her chances of moving forward in Wuhan when she comes up against an opponent she has never lost to on Thursday, a real chance to take a big step towards her first appearance at the upcoming WTA Finals in Singapore.
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova has also had an impressive week in Wuhan, reaching her 8th quarter-final of the year. Schmiedlova started the week with a routine straight set victory over Duque-Marino before recording one of the biggest victories of her career when she came from 1-6 1-4 down to defeat Caroline Wozniacki 7-6 in the third set. Schmiedlova backed up her victory over Wozniacki with a very mature performance to defeat Kristina Mladenovic 6-4 6-2 to set up an intriguing quarter-final clash with Garbine Muguruza, Schmiedlova will be searching for her first career victory over the Spaniard.
Garbine Muguruza holds a perfect 2-0 head-to-head record over Schmiedlova. Both of their previous meetings took place in 2014, both won by Muguruza in straight sets: a 6-3 6-3 win in Melbourne before a 6-2 6-4 win at Roland Garros.
This seems like a good match-up for Garbine, the Spaniard does most things better than Schmiedlova, the Slovakian will need to rely on her superior defensive skills and hope Muguruza has an off day. That seems unlikely, Garbine has played some awesome tennis this week and should be too powerful for Schmiedlova. With a position in Singapore on the line, this is a match Garbine simply cannot afford to lose.