WTA Doha, Quarter-Final Preview: Garbiñe Muguruza v Andrea Petkovic


Garbiñe Muguruza avoided the recent runaway train of “upset” seeds to book her spot in the quarter-finals of Doha where she will play Andrea Petkovic. The Dubai-Doha Middle East swing has been unpredictable to say the least; the recurring theme of surprise results continued on Wednesday with the loss of Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki and Eugenie Bouchard from the draw to add to the seven seeds who exited on Tuesday. On a positive note, there have been some seeds who have performed well this week and this particular quarter-final does match the calibre of this Premier 5 event.

After losing in the second round of Dubai to Elina Svitolina, Muguruza sounded despondent from reports in press and reportedly considered skipping Doha. She hung around to take her position in the draw and is still standing, producing two vastly improved displays so far this week. Muguruza defeated Nao Hibino, 6-2 6-0 in the second round, coming through a couple of tight games before powering through the last 10 games of the match. Muguruza’s third round win was arguably her best display of the year, defeating an in-form, Timea Babos, 6-2 7-5. The Hungarian player really stepped up her game in the second set but Muguruza demonstrated her quality, matching her all the way and winning through on the crucial points.

There were a few nervy moments at the end of the match with Muguruza going down *15-40 after a double fault. The Spaniard hasn’t always been the cleanest closer of matches and perhaps it was also a reflection of her start to the year. Muguruza got a little lucky on the first break point at *15-40 with a dreadful drop shot but Babos didn’t do enough with the volley as Muguruza clawed out a lob winner (see tweet below). Big serving once again got her out of trouble before she showed some stunning movement to chase down a ball on match point. Muguruza has looked a little sluggish so far this year, but was much sharper in this one. Furthermore, she was moving forward onto any short balls, a tactic that worked so well in 2016.

It’s wonderful to see Petkovic not only winning, but enjoying her tennis again. She secured a third straight win over CoCo Vandeweghe, progressing, 6-3 6-4 in one hour and 33 minutes. She kept it pretty simple with a very solid display while also benefitting from an erratic, Vandeweghe. The American player won just five points on her second serve and kept missing on return, failing to put any pressure on Petkovic in the final game of the match.

Head-to-head record: Interestingly, Petkovic leads Muguruza in their head-to-head, 2-0 with wins in Luxembourg (4-6 6-2 6-1, 2012) and Sofia (6-1 6-4, 2014)

Interesting stat: Petkovic is the only player to have reached the quarter-finals of both Dubai and Doha. Thanks to Team Kerberazzi on Twitter for also pointing out that Petkovic has reached the quarter-finals at all three of her WTA events this year.

Final thoughts: This should be a fun one… while Petkovic has won their last four sets, Muguruza’s rise to relevance has been swift since their last meeting in 2014. The Spaniard’s performance against Babos was extremely efficient, making the all-important breakthrough at the crux of a high quality second set to seal the win in straight sets. Petkovic is regaining her status as one of the most consistent players on tour and confidence seems to be slowly coming back. I’m still a little wary of Muguruza’s level as she competes in her first quarter-final of the year but if she can execute her gameplan with the same precision that she achieved against Babos then i’d fancy her to be too strong for Petkovic.

Photo in this post by mootennis.com

24 thoughts on “WTA Doha, Quarter-Final Preview: Garbiñe Muguruza v Andrea Petkovic

  1. I am picking Garbine in a closely contested match,her serve has to be on all match,I feel she has too much overall power for Petkovic,nice to see her rebound after Dubai.


  2. Muguruza seems to have found herself on the right track in Doha. But, I don’t know if she can keep up with the momentum – she did say that she was struggling with an injury and was considering withdrawing from Doha, because she said that she wasn’t ready to fully compete. With only four of the top 16 seeds remaining in the draw now, I have a feeling that Petkovic will be sending Muguruza packing her bags in this match. So I’m predicting that Petkovic will win against Muguruza in two close sets.


  3. That could be a hard one for Muguruza, we will see. I also think that Vinci could take at least one set and I wouldn’t be surprised if she wins, Aga just dont play very well to me, but somehow she managed to win everything so the problem is just in my point of you probably. And I also love the improvement that Vesnina made on her serve and when she plays agresive tennis, she can win next one as well, however CSN plays good tennis again. Looking forward to todays matches.


    • I think Aga is one of the very best female tennis players out there, and quite likely one of the best of all time. Her problem from the point of view of the modern women’s game is that she can’t hit the ball at 200 kilometres an hour.


      • What I meant was that at the end of last season she played really well and I was impressed by her play, this season she won ten of eleven matches I think and I am not impresssed at all. Sure, she is not my favorite players and maybe I just fail to sufficiently appreciate her style.


      • It’s Aga’s own fault that she can’t generate more power. She refuses to do any kind of strength training saying she thinks she’ll lose her speed around the court. I wouldn’t be surprised if its a vanity thing though.


      • Hmmm I remember when Jankovic did that when she was world number one and it affected her results negatively. I think Radwanska’s looking decent so far this year…


      • Jankovic overtrained and overplayed. And she gets herself in such a funk on court.
        I’m not criticising how Aga plays. I just cant stand her fans crying she’s at a disadvantage because of her low physical strength when thats something she can change if she wants. Navratilova, Court, Jean King, Graf are all women who knew how important it was to strength train and all are known for their speed and athleticism over their power.


      • Since she has a rabid fandom that like her game of finesse and smarts I doubt it she would want to change. I think Lucie Safarova hits harder, not to mention Camila Giorgi, Pironkova, relatively skinny girls who can pack a punch. Possible, yes, probable that she will do it, no. You don’t have to be Lisicki or Serena or Keys to smash, and she knows that. It might take too much mentally for her.


      • As you said she doesnt need muscle to be stronger. She obviously just doesn’t want to put in the work for some reason.


      • No,I didnt think Garbine was going to retire,she won the 2nd set,though had a altercation with her coach in the 3rd set.Petko too good won in 3 sets.


      • That was superb from Petko, haven’t seen her play that well since Madrid last year. That changeover between Muguruza-Sumyk was frosssssty, Muguruza looked emotional at the next changeover :-S


      • Not really surprising to me though, Mugu hasn’t exactly been playing her top tennis here and was iffy at the start of the tournament. Petko on the other hand has been trying to play herself into some kind of top form and things are happening for her. I’m glad Garbine showed up, good match practice for her to get going again. But her little exchange with the coach maybe a signal all is not well in the camp.


  4. James,I agree with you regarding Petko’s form,also she seems happy to be playing tennis again.I think Garbine is struggling with her injury,she was not focused at all,think she was generally unhappy and had a go at her coach in the 3rd set,maybe she needs to take some time off.


  5. You lot must have seen the scores right, Novak was beaten in Dubai , with a retirement to Lopez. And the slaughter of seeds was fairly consistent with Berdych and others losing too. It’s something…in Dubai … maybe the water, lol. I think it might be playing conditions or the courts.


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