Garbine Muguruza takes on Anett Kontaveit in the second round of the French Open in what promises to be a hard-hitting, intriguing encounter.
(4) Garbine Muguruza [No.5] vs Anett Kontaveit [No.53]
Overview: Garbine Muguruza’s year has been largely plagued by injuries. After a breakthrough clay season last year which saw her make the semifinals of the Rome Open and famously win the French Open, she has not made a final since. Her 2017 started with a semifinal in Brisbane, but she had to retire to Alize Cornet there. Since then three more retirements came, in Dubai to Kateryna Bondarenko, in Miami to Caroline Wozniacki, and just recently in Rome to Elina Svitolina. Let’s not forget her other results this year though – her most notable results were quarterfinal appearances in the Australian Open and Indian Wells and a semifinal result in Rome. It has been a solid season for Muguruza, but not too spectacular. Can she turn it around in Roland Garros?
Anett Kontaveit has had a breakout season this year which saw her 30 matches this season. Her year first ignited with an ITF 60K tournament in France, before qualifying for three straight tournaments, including the two Premier Mandatories in Indian Wells and Miami, even reaching the fourth round in the latter. It all came together in the new tournament in Biel though – beating quality opponents in Heather Watson, Elise Mertens and Aliaksandra Sasnovich en route to the final, she unfortunately fell in the last match to a spirited Marketa Vondrousova. Things couldn’t get any better for the Estonian, =as she qualified for another three tournaments in Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome. In Stuttgart she played a close match to Maria Sharapova in the quarterfinals, then in Rome she beat World No.1 Angelique Kerber and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni on her way to her first Premier 5 quarterfinal. All her endeavours have paid off, as Kontaveit is at a career-high ranking of No.52, and things are getting even better as she’s projected to break into the Top 50 after her first round win over Monica Niculescu.
Head to head: Tied at one win apiece, Kontaveit won their previous encounter on the indoor clay of Stuttgart this year, while Muguruza captured their first match in last year’s Australian Open.
Random stat: Muguruza is now projected to drop to No.16 in the rankings – she needs to reach the final again in order to stay in the Top 10. She has not been outside the Top 10 since Wimbledon 2015!
Thoughts: This is a dangerous match for Muguruza – there’s a chance Kontaveit might overpower here with her big-hitting and level of play. Muguruza needs to be at her A game if she wants to beat a peak Kontaveit and just hit one more ball back into play and Kontaveit can be a little streaky at times. However the Spaniard played one of her best matches of the year against Schiavone. If she is to play like this against Kontaveit, who does have the weapons to beat her, the Spaniard should get the win.
Check out my daily predictions here and full draw predictions here