WTA Finals Singapore, Day 6 Preview: Garbiñe Muguruza v Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

It’s time to blow the new match-up klaxon as the top two seeds in the white group, Garbiñe Muguruza and Petra Kvitova, will meet for the first time on the WTA tour in a match with huge implications for who will qualify for the semi-finals. Muguruza is pretty much there but Kvitova still has plenty of work to do…

There’s only one possible scenario where Muguruza doesn’t qualify; if Kvitova wins in straight sets and Kerber wins in straights, it will come down to % of games won where Muguruza could miss out. For Kvitova, a win would put her through to the semi-finals IF Kerber fails to beat Safarova. Otherwise, it could get messy.

Kvitova won her first match of the week, a straight sets victory over Lucie Safarova, 7-5 7-5. Petra owns this match-up and she broke Lucie’s serve at 6-5* in both sets. It was an improved display from Kvitova compared to her straight sets loss to Kerber, hitting 25 winners to 23 unforced errors; however, it still wasn’t vintage form from the former Wimbledon champion and her fitness and energy levels remain a concern. In the first set, Kvitova saved a break point at *5-5 *30-40, playing her best point of the match (at that stage), hitting a purposeful forehand to drag Lucie out wide before finishing the point with a backhand winner.

Kvitova slumped a little at the start of the second set, going down a double break, but was soon back on level terms. Like the first set, she played some excellent tennis on a crucial point; at 5-5 30-30, Kvitova was on the defence but managed to stay in the rally with Safarova eventually going long. There were a couple of gifts from Safarova in the final game but Kvitova had done the hard work. In the end, a superior winners to unforced errors differential (+2 to -5), a higher number of first serve points won (75% to 55%) and basically playing the big points better was the difference. Regarding Petra, check out a great piece from the WTA Insider account with Petra’s long-term coach, David Kotyza (linked below)… It’s a fascinating read.

Muguruza produced another superb display, defeating Angelique Kerber for the fourth consecutive time, 6-4 6-4. While this was another decent match at this year’s WTA Finals with some quality tennis on show, the tournament is missing out on that one classic three setter. Kerber gave a sound performance but Muguruza was just on it from the first ball, finishing with stats of 38 winners to 26 unforced errors.

Once again Muguruza served extremely well, winning 71% of first serve points in the first set and 67% of second serve points in the second set. I’ve mentioned this quite a few times over the Asian Swing but the aspect of Muguruza’s game that most impresses me is her ability to finish points at the net. While I thought Muguruza looked uncomfortable at the net in her first doubles match in Singapore, she has look much more assured in singles. This is one of the factors why she is having so much success in this match-up against Kerber and it worked a treat in that tremendous match at Wimbledon. In Wednesday’s match, Muguruza won 28 out of 36 points at the net.

Another aspect of Muguruza’s game that has improved is her movement and defence; on a number of occasions she was drawn out wide by Kerber. Although she still looks awkward, more often that not, Muguruza is able to get back into a neutral position and stay in the rally. While we’ve seen many ups and downs from Muguruza this year and perhaps there’s a case for recency bias, I think she is the real deal. Add to that her infectious personality and I think she’s going to be a huge star on the WTA tour for years to come.

First time match-ups are always exciting and i’m particularly fascinated by this match-up. I’m not sure it will be a pretty watch but it will be compelling nonetheless! Based on recent form and the rising confidence of Muguruza, i’d go for the Spaniard in straight sets. Kvitova played well against Safarova but I have a concern she could be overwhelmed by the sharpness of Muguruza’s ball striking. I’m also concerned that i’m completely underestimating Petra because we know what she is fully capable of… however, i’m not convinced Kvitova can keep her level at a consistently high enough level to contend with an in-form Muguruza.

Photo in this post by Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

18 thoughts on “WTA Finals Singapore, Day 6 Preview: Garbiñe Muguruza v Petra Kvitova

  1. I did say after the Asian swing,Garbine to me is a contender for this year’s YEC,so far I have been impressed with her wins.Garbine has improved her volley play,an area to me she needed to improve.Agree James,this will be a fascinating first time match up between Petra and Garbine.Petra isn’t 100%,s in saying that she does have the weapons,I feel if this match goes to 3 sets,Garbine will win,I will still pick Garbine to win,I will not be surprised if she wins in straight sets.

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  2. It’s weird because it doesn’t feel like Muguruza has had a great year really. Wimbledon was a big breakout and obviously Wuhan and Beijing were outstanding successes. But her climb to number 3 in the world seems to have come from nowhere…
    Having said that I think she’ll be a force to be reckoned with next year. She plays like a hybrid of Serena and Ana Ivanovic.

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    • Please…Ivanovic (are you joking)? I am surprised that when someone plays well at certain periods, many people quickly brand “this girl” as Serena successor or like Serena. She has a mountain to climb though this YEC gives tennis fans an idea how the post Serena’s era like but not the full picture.

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      • You aren’t worth arguing with. Say what you will, but it’s pretty widely accepted that Ana has the most elegant groundstrokes on the wta.

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    • If Petra is fit not her sister Shitra shows up to play, she can beat Muguruza anytime. Although I do agree that Muguruza is a force to be reckoned but she has not been able to beat “Power” hitters convincingly. She lost to power hitters or some can consistently put her balls back to play with a bit of power (e.g. Bencic) most of the time.

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      • They both have the same game. They are power hitters and doesn’t retrieve well. Gabine has the edge because Petra is Petra. Petra isn’t passionate about tennis and if she loses it is not a big deal. I hope Kerber and Gabine come through.

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  3. Muguruza is not a good retriever. Her opponents have given her too much time to place her shots (Safarova and Kerber did not give her the punch that Kvitova could do). Kvitova will not give her much time to think where to place her shots. She will hit many UEs today. It will happen just like how Venus did to her in Wuhan (although she claimed to have injury but so did Venus). Furthermore, I think Kvitova net play is better than her.

    Her H2H with Lucie is 1:1; Pliskova 0:2. If these two can do it, I believe Kvitova can do it better if she shows up. She usually plays well with someone has the similar styles. Another good example is she lost to Yaroslava in Cincinnati.

    Yes, Muguruza is in form but she will choke this one. Anything can happen in this tournament. It is just like when everyone thinks Halep is a sure win, she lost. Will see how Petra responses. Go Czech!

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  4. I think Gabrine will win in straight sets , I think she is the new Serena , she can only lose to herself , and today its all about power , and when it comes down to power Gabrine is more consistant and more accurate than Petra. The real test will come in semi where she’ll meet Aga and that’s a different story and a real test against a different kind of player where Gabrine will need more than just sheer power to get pass her and if she’ll manage that she’ll win the final (probably Maria)

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  5. It wasn’t Garbine’s best match so far,though on a positive note,she found a way to win in the end,Garbine really dug deep,both players looked tired to me,there were 15 breaks of serve,both players struggled especially on their 2nd serves.Phew!

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    • I was following the third set on the live scoreboard and I was sure Petra would prevail in that third set! No matter what the performance (i’ll catch up later!) that was another fine win for Muguruza. Lucie can now help out Petra with a straight sets win 😉

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  6. James,I am lucky both matches are been televised live through Fox Sports here in Sydney,I would like Lucie to win,pity about the doubles,should be a fun match.

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