Mutua Madrid Open 2017 WTA Round 1 Preview: Garbine Muguruza vs Timea Bacsinszky

Spain’s own Garbine Muguruza takes on Timea Bacsinszky in the fifth match on Manolo Santana Court.

(5) Garbine Muguruza (No.6) vs Timea Bacsinszky (No.27)

Overview: 2016 French Open champion Garbine Muguruza has not made a final since her Roland Garros triumph. After a semifinal showing in Brisbane, she made the quarterfinals of the Australian Open where she was meekly beaten by Coco Vandewghe. Since then, she has only made one more quarterfinal which was in Indian Wells where she lost to Karolina Pliskova. It wasn’t an extraordinary start for Muguruza; she will now look for some momentum heading into the clay swing where she is defending semifinal points from Rome and champion points in Paris.

Timea Bacsinszky’s best successes have always come in the clay season – she made the semifinals in Paris in 2015 and won her lone title in 2016 in Rabat. Back on her favourite dirt, she will be in need for some wins after they did not come for Bacsinszky this year on the hard courts, having only played three tournaments due to injury. The Swiss’ first tournament since Indian Wells was in Rabat, where she fell to Catherine Bellis in the second round. Even though it was a loss, it was an encouraging one as Bacsinszky seemed to be finding back her usual ways on the court.

Head to head: Muguruza has won all four previous encounters between them – including a 7-5 6-2 victory in last year’s Rome Open, also on the red clay.

Thoughts: Muguruza has described her trip to a Madrid as ’emotional and nervous’, and Bacsinszky can certainly take advantage on that. However, Muguruza’s advantage in the head to head is a commanding one. The conditions in Madrid suit both players – making the prediction even tougher to guess. This is one of the most difficult first rounders to decide on. Muguruza would be buoyed on by the crowd (not sure if it’ll help her though!) and should eke out the win.

Prediction: Muguruza to defeat Bacsinszky in three sets

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