WTA Finals RR: (2) Garbine Muguruza vs (8) Lucie Safarova
The first of the white group matches will take place on Monday evening when Garbine Muguruza comes up against Lucie Safarova. Both ladies will be competing in their first singles campaign at the WTA Finals. Garbine and Lucie entered Singapore in contrasting form, Garbine was dominant during the Asian swing whilst Lucie Safarova was unable to compete due to a bacterial infection. This looked like being a potentially lopsided affair at first, but Lucie seems to have fully recovered physically, defeating Garbine Mugruza and Carla Suarez Navarro alongside Bethanie Mattek-Sands in her first doubles match of the event on Sunday.
Garbine Muguruza is arguably the player to beat in Singapore, despite the fact that this is the Spaniard’s first WTA Finals appearance. Garbine was dominant during the Asian swing, reaching the final in Wuhan before claiming the biggest title of her career in Beijing. Garbine is now at a career high ranking and is full confidence heading into the event. Garbine has spent about a week in Singapore preparing for the event as she looks to end the best season of her career on a high.
Lucie Safarova just scrapped into Singapore, claiming the last position at the event courtesy of Carla Suarez Navarro’s shock early exit in Moscow Lucie’s recent form has been poor, due to injury and illness. Lucie suffered a horror first round exit in New York and was unable to compete during the Asian swing due to a bacterial infection which left her hospitalized. Lucie returned to the courts in Linz and Moscow but was unable to claim a victory, however it does seem like Lucie is in a much better position to compete this week in Singapore. Lucie made a winning start in the doubles alongside Bethanie Mattek Sands on Sunday and seemed to be ready to compete at her best this week.
The only previous meeting between the pair took place at Roland Garros earlier this year, it was Lucie Safarova who won the quarter-final match 7-6 6-3. Safarova will take a lot of confidence from that match, Garbine would be expected to have the edge on a clay court.
This is an interesting match, because the two have had totally contrasting preparation for the event. The pressure will all be on Muguruza, the Spaniard is the top seed in the group and is certainly expected to reach at least the semi-finals. In contrast, there is little expected of Lucie Safarova who only just qualified for the event. This could really work in Lucie’s favour as Garbine is likely to be a little nervous at first. I think this could be the first big upset of the tournament.