???? US OPEN, R1 match preview
?? (24) Garbine Muguruza vs. ?? Alison Riske
One of the toughest opening round match-ups in the top half of the draw sees the 24th seeded Garbine Muguruza take on the in-form Alison Riske in New York. Muguruza hasn’t won a match in just under 3 months whilst Alison Riske has won 17 matches during Muguruza’s winless stretch. An upset is certainly on the cards heading into this match, however Muguruza is a 2-time Grand Slam champion for a reason and has a point to prove.
Garbine Muguruza is one of the WTA tour’s most mystifying talents, at her best she is one of the best players in the world, a former world number 1 and a 2-time former Grand Slam champion. At her worst she can lose to anyone and is currently in the midst of a slump. Muguruza made a good start to the season but hasn’t won a match since her run to the round of 16 at Roland Garros. To make matters worse, the US Open has historically been Muguruza’s least successful major. Muguruza only played the one match during the US Open series before arriving in New York, a tough opening round loss at the hands of Madison Keys in Cincinnati.
Alison Riske has had the best couple of months of her career. The American’s grass court season was outstanding and more recently she has played some good matches on the hard courts of North America. Riske made it through the qualifying draw in Toronto before succumbing to Karolina Pliskova in the second round in a match that went the distance. However, most recently Riske did suffer a disappointing opening round loss to Maria Sharapova in Cincinnati, perhaps an excusable loss down to fatigue. It will be interesting to see how Riske regroups for New York, a tournament where she has lost in the opening round on 5 consecutive occasions.
Muguruza holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Riske. The most recent match-up between the pair took place in Tokyo last year where the American claimed a comprehensive 6-1 6-2 victory.
I’m going to side with Muguruza here. To say Muguruza is due for a win would be an understatement whilst it seems that Riske may have hit a wall in Cincinnati after all the tennis she has played over the last few months. Riske’s poor history in New York is a cause for concern especially against an opponent who usually thrives on the big stage. Muguruza should be healthy and motivated heading into this match and that spells danger, a focused Muguruza is too powerful for Riske and should get the job done.