The French Open champion, Garbiñe Muguruza faces a potentially testing opener as she takes on the world number 68, Camila Giorgi in the first round of Wimbledon on Monday.
Muguruza will not only being playing her first Slam since her triumph in Paris but she’s also defending finals points after glorious run at Wimbledon in 2015 where she defeated Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, Timea Bacsinszky and Agnieszka Radwanska all in a row. Muguruza has a ruthless streak about her and although she’s had some shaky moments in the crucial moments of matches, against Serena Williams in the French Open final she was reasonably calm, cool and collected, holding her nerve to win a brilliant final.
Muguruza headed to the new tournament in Mallorca for her grass court preparations. Unsurprisingly, she lost in the first round to Kirsten Flipkens, 3-6 4-6. So soon after the French Open, it was a tough ask to adjust and against an opponent who likes grass and has made the semi-finals of Wimbledon before. It has given Muguruza plenty of time to prepare for Wimbledon but perhaps the lack of competitive matches could be an issue.
To demonstrate how Giorgi’s year has panned out, the Italian player was actually seeded at Wimbledon last year. She endured a miserable May and June on the tour, and hasn’t won back-to-back matches since Prague in April. This may have had something to do with cutting ties with the Italian Federation earlier this year (see here). Giorgi was practising a lot in Eastbourne, but has yet to win a set on grass this year, losing her opening matches to Heather Watson (Birmingham) and Timea Babos (Eastbourne).
Head-to-head record: Giorgi leads Muguruza in their head-to-head, 2-1. Giorgi won their first two matches in Madrid (6-1 1-6 6-3, 2013) and New Haven (6-4 6-7 6-2, 2014). Muguruza won their most recent match at the French Open last year, 6-1 6-4. The Spaniard had a little wobble at the end but got the job done in straight sets.
Interesting stat: Giorgi hasn’t lost in the first round of Wimbledon since her first appearance in the main draw back in 2011. Wimbledon is the only Slam where she has a positive W-L record at 8-5.
Final thoughts: On paper, this is a difficult match for Muguruza and it will be fascinating to see how the Spaniard copes mentally with the situation. Quotes from her press conference today (see link from WTA Insider above) allude to the drop-off in form she witnessed after reaching the Wimbledon final last year and she is not taking anything for granted. Muguruza could be vulnerable, but Giorgi’s recent form has been disappointing and it would seem unlikely to me that she will be able to capitalise. I think Muguruza will be prepared and fully aware of the tennis that Giorgi can produce… Muguruza for the win.