?? Australian Open, R3 preview + prediction:
?? (5) Elina Svitolina vs. ?? Garbine Muguruza
A blockbuster third round clash at Melbourne Park on Saturday sees the 5th seeded Elina Svitolina take on a resurgent Garbine Muguruza. This is an early heavyweight battle at the first major of the year, two players that expect to be featuring at the later stages of major events doing battle for a spot in the round of 16.
Elina Svitolina arrived in Melbourne without a win to her name in 2020 but has done well to move through her first couple of matches at Melbourne Park without dropping a set. The 5th seed started the tournament with a 6/4 7/5 win over Katie Boulter before winning a late night clash with Lauren Davis 6/2 7/6. Svitolina is typically the type of player to get better and better as a tournament progresses, the Ukrainian will certainly need to raise her level against Muguruza in the next round in what will be her first major test of the tournament thus far.
Garbine Muguruza has come through a couple of rollercoaster matches to reach the third round at Melbourne Park. Muguruza started the week with a bizarrely lopsided 0/6 6/1 6/0 win over Shelby Rogers before battling past a nervy Ajla Tomljanovic 6/3 3/6 6/3. Muguruza’s ranking has significantly dropped over the last 12 months but the 2-time former Grand Slam champion is showing signs that she is getting her game back together, albeit in patches.
This has historically been a favourable match-up for Svitolina. It is the Ukrainian who holds a 5-2 head-to-head record over Muguruza at the tour level. All 5 of Svitolina’s victories over Muguruza have been on a hard court, including their most recent match which ended in a 7/5 6/2 victory for Svitolina in Wuhan late last year.
I’m going to side with Svitolina here. History shows that this is a good match-up for Svitolina and it is easy to see why. Svitolina is one of the toughest competitors on tour and also one of the most consistent, she gives nothing away for free and fights for every single point. Muguruza is a streaky player who often goes missing for periods in a match, we have seen that from the Spaniard in both of her matches at this event. Svitolina will always be there to take advantage of that drop and that is why she has a strong record over the Spaniard. Svitolina is simply too solid, Svitolina has the defensive skills, variety and stamina to cause Muguruza a whole heap of problems on a hard court.