Tokyo R2: (3) Garbine Muguruza vs Barbora Strycova
An intriguing second round clash at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo sees Garbine Muguruza come up against Barbora Strycova. The contrast in styles between these two makes for a fascinating match, the extreme power of Muguruza up against the clever counter-punching Strycova. Muguruza’s form has been poor since her stunning run to the final at Wimbledon earlier this year, the Spaniard will be looking for a major form reversal over the next few weeks in Asia as she looks to reach her fist WTA Finals campaign.
Garbine Muguruza struggled during the North American summer, surprising many considering how well she played at Wimbledon on route to her first Grand Slam final. Garbine picked up just one victory during the North American summer, suffering two first round exits in the lead up to New York where she would eventually succumb to Konta in a gruelling second round match. Garbine is in contention to reach her first ever WTA Finals campaign, the Spaniard currently sits in 10th place, so Garbine will be extra motivated to play well over the next couple of weeks. Garbine played well in Tokyo last year where she reached the semi-finals, she will be looking to go a couple of steps further this time around.
Barbora Strycova also struggled throughout the North American summer, Strycova ultimately missed a golden opportunity to reach the second week in New York. Strycova stumbled into the third round in New York and found herself in a winning position against Lisicki, however Barbora was unable to convert and ended up suffering a heartbreaking defeat. Barbora advanced to the second round in Tokyo with a less than convincing 7-5 6-2 victory over Naomi Osaka. The match was filled with unforced errors, Strycova did enough to get the job done, it wasn’t pretty.
In the only previous meeting between the pair, it was Muguruza who prevailed 6-1 6-4 in Stuttgart earlier this year. This is the type of match-up that Muguruza usually thrives on, the Spaniard will be desperate to gain some much needed momentum with a victory here. Garbine has a great record against smart counter-punchers such as Radwanska, Wozniacki, Kerber and Halep, those players are all a class above Strycova. Muguruza has been practising in Tokyo for a good period of time, expect the rejuvenated Spaniard to win this one quite comfortably.