Miami R2: (4) Garbine Muguruza vs Dominika Cibulkova
Friday’s most intriguing second round clash at the Miami Open sees the fourth seeded Garbine Muguruza come up against the always dangerous Dominika Cibulkova. This is a brutal early round draw for both players, it guarantees one of these two will be making an earlier than expected exit from the tournament. Interestingly, Muguruza has won the only two previous matches between the pair, however recent form suggests that Cibulkova has a good chance to record her first ever victory over the Spaniard in this match.
Garbine Muguruza continues to struggle in 2016. The Spaniard has been one of the biggest disappointments of the season in the early months. Garbine has not recorded any notable victories in 2016 but has suffered a couple of embarrassing losses. One of those embarrassing losses was a 5-7 1-6 first round defeat at the hands of Christina McHale at the BNP Paribas Open last week. Garbine showed no fight in the second set of that match and pretty much admitted to giving up on the match early in the second set to her coach. If Muguruza doesn’t change her attitude and reverse her current form slump, she will quickly slide down the rankings. Another couple of early round exits could see the Spaniard’s season spiral out of control, perhaps in Eugenie Bouchard 2015 type fashion.
Conversely, Dominika Cibulkova’s form has been gradually improving in 2016 and her attitude and determination can never be questioned. The Slovakian arrived in Miami fresh off a brutal second round loss to Aga Radwanska at the BNP Paribas Open, Dominika held a 5-2 lead in the deciding set but would ultimately lose 5 straight games, falling agonisingly short of recording a very significant win. Nevertheless, there were still many positives to take from that match, it is clear that Dominika is moving in the right direction. The Slovakian made a winning start in Miami on Wednesday, recording a 4-6 6-1 6-2 win over Johanna Larsson. Dominika recovered well after a shaky start, ultimately she was too good when it mattered most. Dominika will see her clash with Muguruza as a good opportunity to claim her first big scalp of the year.
Garbine Muguruza has won the only two previous matches between the pair, including a 6-2 4-6 6-2 win in Stanford in 2014 in what was their most recent match. I suspect we will see a very different scoreline on this occasion given the recent form of the two, Cibulkova’s recent form has been far more impressive and she seems to be playing with far more confidence and determination than Muguruza is right now. We know what we will get from Cibulkova but the same can’t be said about Muguruza in her current mood/form. Dominika could win this match quite comfortably if Garbine doesn’t produce a significantly improved performance than the one she produced in her previous event.