World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty takes on Australian Open runner-up Garbine Muguruza for a spot in the Doha semi-finals on Thursday night.
?? Ashleigh Barty  vs ?? Garbine Muguruza  Match Info
Date: Thursday February 27
Tournament: WTA Doha QF
Court: Centre Court
Time: 8.00pm local time (5.00pm GMT)
Ashleigh Barty vs Garbine Muguruza Head-to-Head
Barty leads 2-1
2019 | Hopman Cup | Barty 6-3 6-4
2017 | Rogers Cup R16 | Muguruza 6-0 3-6 6-2
2017 | Birmingham SF | Barty 3-6 6-4 6-3
Ashleigh Barty vs Garbine Muguruza Match Preview
A blockbuster showdown awaits in the last of the Qatar Total Open quarter-finals in Doha on Thursday night as the current World No. 1 comes up against the former World No. 1.
Making her debut in Doha this week, Barty – competing her first tournament since the Australian Open – has only played one match in order to reach the last eight, with Elena Rybakina withdrawing ahead of their R16 contest. In her opening match, Barty was clinical and business-like, hitting 19 winners to 16 errors in a 6-3 6-2 victory over the tricky Laura Siegemund.
“It took some time to adjust just to the conditions and having not played my opponent before,” Barty said.
“Happy overall to be able to switch on when I really needed to. Disappointing to have a few lapses in concentration but also a credit to my opponent, she came up with some really good stuff in runs to be able to break me a few times.”
After withdrawing from Dubai injured, Barty looks like she’s fully recovered and ready to defend her position at the top of the rankings. The Aussie had a successful summer at home in January, capturing her eighth career title in Adelaide before reaching her second Grand Slam semi-final at Melbourne Park, falling to eventual champion Sofia Kenin.
Barty is the undisputed World No. 1 and holds a commanding lead of over 2,000 points over her nearest rival – and that’s due to her unwavering consistency during 2019, which saw her win Roland Garros, Miami, Birmingham and the WTA Finals Shenzhen. It can be argued that Barty doesn’t have the best record against the very best in the biggest tournaments, but she’s the one that keeps putting herself in positions to take out titles in the wide open women’s field – and she could be about to do it again in Doha this week.
But, not if Muguruza has any say in the matter. The two-time major champion has now advanced to the quarter-finals of every tournament she’s entered in 2020 under the tutelage of Conchita Martinez and is looking like re-entering the top 10 over the next month or so if she maintains her current level.
After overcoming Daria Kasatkina in three sets in her opening round, Muguruza has been ruthless in her next two matches, crushing Ajla Tomljanovic 6-1 6-2 before earning a very good 6-2 6-4 victory over rising teenager Dayana Yastremska – someone she’d lost two twice before. Confident and back to her best tennis, Muguruza is looking forward to challenging herself against the World No. 1 in the quarter-finals.
“I think she [Barty] for sure stepped it up,” Muguruza said. “I think she’s very talented, she’s holding in that spot for a long time. So I think it’s great for me to be able to play the World No.1, I’m excited, it’s going to be a good match, that’s the matches that I’m looking for and that means that I’m still here and I’m still in the quarterfinals.”
If there was any concern that Muguruza was about to fall back into a slumber following her run to the Australian Open final (where she beat three top 10 players in straight sets), then she’s erased all concerns for the time being, advancing to the Dubai quarter-finals last week before replicating that result this week in Doha. Can she score her fifth win over a No. 1 on Thursday night?
Ashleigh Barty vs Garbine Muguruza Prediction
I think Muguruza is favourite here. The Spaniard is combining her explosive power tennis with an unwavering desire to compete and fight – and when Muguruza does that, she’s nearly impossible to stop. As mentioned, Barty can struggle to impose herself when the world’s very best players are competing at their prime – and if that’s the case on Thursday, Muguruza might just have too much firepower for the World No. 1.