(1) Serena Williams vs (24) Garbine Muguruza
Monday’s most anticipated match sees Serena Williams take on Garbine Muguruza for the first time since the Spaniard absolutely smashed Serena at Roland Garros last year. Serena will be desperate to avenge that loss and to avoid a second straight fourth round exit in Melbourne, however it certainly won’t be easy.
Serena Williams overcame yet another sluggish start to eventually overpower Elina Svitolina 4-6 6-2 6-0. Serena was far from her best in the opening set and Svitolina was good enough to take full advantage. Svitolina broke the Americans serve three times in the opening set. Svitolina outhit Serena, taking the first set 6-4.
Serena finally got her game together in the record set. The world number one’s serve dramatically improved, making life much more difficult for Elina.
Serena would go on to lose just two games in the final two sets, powering her way through to the fourth round at Melbourne Park.
Garbine Muguruza was also forced to get the job done in three sets to advance to the fourth round. The Spaniard outlasted Timea Bacsinszky, prevailing 6-3 4-6 6-0 to set up an enticing clash with Serena Williams.
Garbine has been very up and down this week throughout her matches. The Spaniard has twice won the opening set before losing the second set to ultimately prevail 6-0 in the decider. Interestingly, Garbine has won the final set 6-0 in all three of her matches this week at Melbourne Park.
Things are unlikely to be as easy for Garbine on Monday when she comes up against a fired up Serena Williams desperate for revenge and to avoid a second straight fourth round exit in Melbourne.
The head to head record between these two is squared at one each. Garbine announced herself to the tennis world at Roland Garros last year, thumping the defending champion 6-2 6-2 in the second round. Garbine played the best match of her life, totally outplaying Serena in an awesome display of power hitting.
Garbine is one of very few players on tour that actually have the ability to outhit Serena from the baseline. For Garbine it’s all about consistency and ensuring that she controls her emotions on court. There is no doubt that Serena is vulnerable at the moment, Garbine is the type of player that can really take advantage of this.
Garbine will head into this match without fear and will be full of confidence. I expect this to be an extremely close match, I would not be surprised to see Garbine pull of an upset especially if Serena’s serve is off (as it has been throughout the week).
Prediction: Garbine Muguruza to defeat Serena Williams in three sets