?? Australian Open, SF #2 preview + prediction:
?? (4) Simona Halep vs. ?? Garbine Muguruza
A blockbuster semi-final clash sees a pair of 2-time Grand Slam champions do battle when Simona Halep comes up against Garbine Muguruza. This is a heavyweight battle between two players in superb form that know how to go all the way in major events, expect a hot contest!
Simona Halep is the only semi-finalist that hasn’t dropped a set all tournament. Halep safely moved through the first week with straight set wins over Jennifer Brady, Katie Boulter and Yulia Putintseva. The reigning Wimbledon champion has stepped up her level in the last few matches to defeat Elise Mertens 6/4 6/4 and crush Anett Kontaveit 6/1 6/1 to reach the final 4 in Melbourne for the second time.
Garbine Muguruza made a nervy start to the event, the Spaniard required 3 sets to defeat Shelby Rogers and Ajla Tomljanovic in her first couple of matches but has really stepped up her level thereafter. Muguruza claimed back-to-back top 10 victories in the third and fourth rounds with a 6/1 6/2 win over Elina Svitolina before defeating Kiki Bertens 6/3 6/3. Muguruza booked her spot in the final 4 at Melbourne Park for the first time with a 7/5 6/3 win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
It is Garbine Muguruza who heads into this clash with the head-to-head advantage. Muguruza holds a 3-2 H2H record over the Romanian, more importantly the Spaniard has won all 3 of the previous matches between the pair on a hard court. It was Halep who won the most recent match between the pair, a dominant 6-1 6-4 win at the semi-final stage of Roland Garros in 2018 on route to winning the title.
I’m going to side with Halep here. Halep is simply the far more consistent and reliable of the two. Whilst Muguruza has been playing great tennis in her last few matches, this will be a step up in opposition. Halep has the game to absorb and redirect the power of Muguruza. Halep played one of her best matches in recent times in the semi-finals, a similar effort here will see her reach a second Australian Open final.