Former World No. 1 Garbine Muguruza aims to continue her resurgent form when she faces ninth seed Kiki Bertens for a place in the Australian Open quarter-finals on Monday.
Kiki Bertens 🇳🇱 vs Garbine Muguruza 🇪🇸 Match Info
Date: Monday January 27
Tournament: Australian Open R16
Court: Rod Laver Arena
Time: 2.30pm local time (3.30am GMT)
Kiki Bertens vs Garbine Muguruza Head-to-Head
Muguruza leads 2-1
2019 | Indian Wells R16 | Muguruza 5-7 6-1 6-4
2018 | Sydney R16 | Muguruza 6-3 7-6(6)
2012 | Fes QF | Bertens 6-1 6-4
Kiki Bertens vs Garbine Muguruza Match Preview
Looking to make her first Grand Slam quarter-final in almost two years, can Muguruza back up her demolition of fifth seed Elina Svitolina when she meets ninth seed Bertens on Monday?
It’s been a roller-coaster Australian Open for Muguruza, who has suffered a dramatic dip in form over the last two seasons, dropping from World No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam champion to outside the top 30 and not even being mentioned among the leading contenders for the first major of the year pre-tournament. However, that’s all changed now, with Muguruza now listed in the top five with bookies after producing an intimidating performance to book her ticket in the second week.
Sensationally, Muguruza dropped her first set of the tournament 0-6 against qualifier Shelby Rogers as she revealed she was battling an illness before the event, which also caused her to withdraw from Hobart. It appeared as if Muguruza’s rough run of form was about to continue, but she bounced back to win the next two sets 6-1 6-0 and then overcame home favourite Ajla Tomljanovic in another three-setter before her eye-catching romp of Svitolina in the third round on Saturday night.
It was arguably the finest performance of the tournament to date, with Muguruza firing a whopping 31 winners to just nine unforced errors in the dominant 6-1 6-2 victory in just 68 minutes.
“I was very concentrated and focused on what I had to do. Everything went pretty quickly my way, so I’ll take it,” she said after the clash.
“We always have good matches, so I was really looking forward to playing her.“I played a very good match. I managed to stop her and took the match to my side, which I’m very happy about.
“It’s definitely a good sign for me when you don’t feel good and you manage to win matches and compete. Even if you’re not feeling great, there’s always a chance there. You just have to find your way. I’m pleased with my fighting spirit and accepting many situations that are not on your side sometimes.”
Is it too early to say Muguruza is back? The Spaniard, who was born in Venezuela, successfully defended her Monterrey title last year, but that was as good as it got for the as she ended the season at No. 36 in the world for her first non-top 20 finish since 2014. It was certainly a far cry from the Muguruza of 2016 and 2017, where she became the only player in history to beat both Williams sisters in a Grand Slam final when she did so to Serena at the French Open and Venus at Wimbledon, while she was also a Cincinnati champion in 2017, the same season she reached World No. 1. We saw glimpses of this sort of form in 2019 – can Muguruza sustain it and knock off another top 10 player on Monday?
Meanwhile, Bertens is aiming to reach a first hardcourt Grand Slam quarter-final of her career after advancing to the fourth round without dropping a set over Irina-Camelia Begu (6-1 6-4), Arina Rodionova (6-3 7-5) and Zarina Diyas (6-2 7-6). Bertens produced a fantastic display to beat an in-form Diyas in the third round on Saturday night, hitting 35 winners to just 21 unforced errors as she made the second week in Melbourne for the first time.
Bertens enjoyed her most consistent season in 2018 when she won three WTA titles in Cincinnati, Seoul and Charleston to become the first Dutchwoman to crack the top 10 since 1996. Already an established threat on clay having made the French Open semi-finals back in 2016, Bertens transitioned from a clay-court specialist to an all-surface master as she also reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals. Bertens won the biggest title of her career on the clay of Madrid last year, bearing four major champions along the way (Ostapenko, Kvitova, Stephens and Halep), while she also claimed the indoor hardcourt title in St. Petersburg and remained inside the top 10 all season long. Now off to her best ever start in Australia, can she keep her run going into the quarter-finals?
Kiki Bertens vs Garbine Muguruza Prediction
Bertens won their first meeting all the way back in 2012, but Muguruza has won their last two encounters, both of which came on hardcourt in Sydney in 2018 and Indian Wells last year. Both are similar players in that they want to play first-strike tennis and get that first big hit in baseline exchanges, so it will come down to who is executing better on the day. Muguruza has threatened to make a resurgence at various stages over the last two seasons – is this the moment she finally fulfils that promise?