Brisbane R2: (2) Garbine Muguruza vs Varvara Lepchenko
Garbine Muguruza will begin her 2016 season on Wednesday when she comes up against American Varvara Lepchenko in the second round of the Brisbane International. This is a potentially dangerous opening match for Muguruza, it will be interesting to see how the Spaniard deals with the situation.
Garbine Muguruza had an outstanding season in 2015, reaching her first WTA Finals campaign, her first career Grand Slam final and reaching a career high ranking of number 3 in the world. The Spaniard will want to maintain a similarly high level in 2016 and avoid a big letdown which can often happen after such an amazing year. Muguruza had started off her year very well in Australia over the last 2 years and will be hoping for similarly strong results this summer, starting in Brisbane.
Varvara Lepchenko kick-started her 2016 campaign with a stunning 6-2 6-1 victory over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova on Sunday. The American served very well in her opening match, winning over 80 percent of points behind her first serve and was also lethal from the baseline against a very competent opponent. Varvara seems to enjoy the quick conditions in Brisbane, the American made a surprise run to the semi-final stage of the event in 2015.
Garbine won the only previous encounter between the pair, a 6-4 6-1 victory at Wimbledon last year. Muguruza has an extremely good record against left-handed opponents in recent times, winning her last 6 matches against lefties including victories over Angelique Kerber, Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova.
This will not be easy for Garbine, Lepchenko is a difficult opponent to play first up. It will be difficult for Garbine to find her range early but ultimately I think she will be good enough to fight her way past the American who often struggles to close out matches against top quality opponents.