World No.7 Garbiñe Muguruza kicks off her campaign at Miami where she first made her breakthrough as wildcard in 2012. She starts off against American Christina McHale.
(6) Garbiñe Muguruza (No.6) vs Christina McHale (No.46)
Overview: Garbiñe Muguruza hasn’t done much in 2017, but she is backing up some really solid results this season. She started off her season in Brisbane with a semifinal showing, retiring from the match down 1-4 against Alizé Cornet. Since then, she hasn’t made a semifinal, and has been struggling with injuries, withdrawing from Sydney and retired in Dubai. She made it to the quarterfinals in the Australian Open, but was blown off by Coco Vandeweghe. In Fed Cup, she beat Barbora Strycova pretty comfortably before falling to Karolina Pliskova. She admitted she was feeling fatigue from Fed Cup after her loss in Doha to Zhang Shuai, but rebounded back in Indian Wells beating quality opponents such as Kirsten Flipkens and Elina Svitolina, then once again lost to Pliskova. Not in her best form, Muguruza’s Miami opener comes in the form of American McHale.
Christina McHale has already garnered 13 wins so far in the season. She amassed 5 wins in the Australian swing (incl. qualifying) but lost in disappointing fashion to Kristina Kucova. She then qualified for Doha and reached the round of 16 in Dubai, losing to the in-form Svitolina. She then made the best performance of the year so far, reaching the semifinals in Acapulco. However, she has struggled in the March, falling to Evgeniya Rodina in Indian Wells shockingly while only winning a game, then had to battle past Annika Beck in three.
Head to head: Their HTH is split at a win apiece, most recently at last year’s Indian Wells which McHale won comfortably. Both matches were conducted on hard courts.
Thoughts: Muguruza has much more firepower than McHale but both players are great playing from the baseline. Got to go with Muguruza for this, even though the Spaniard is not at her best level I think she will only let McHale snatch a set even if she’s having an off day.
Prediction: Muguruza to beat McHale in three