Garbine Muguruza looks to continue her excellent start to the season when she faces the giant-slaying Jennifer Brady in the Dubai quarter-finals on Thursday.
Garbine Muguruza ?? vs Jennifer Brady ?? Match Info
Date: Thursday February 20
Tournament: WTA Dubai QF
Court: Centre Court
Time: 3.30pm local time (11.30am GMT)
Garbine Muguruza vs Jennifer Brady Head-to-Head
Garbine Muguruza vs Jennifer Brady Match Preview
An entertaining quarter-final showdown awaits in Dubai on Thursday as Australian Open runner-up Muguruza comes up against an extremely in-form Brady.
Coming off an extremely tough 2019 season in which she dropped outside the top 30, Muguruza has returned to some of her best tennis to launch 2020 as she aims to surge back to the top of the WTA.
The two-time major champion and former World No. 1 appeared set for more of the same 2019 disappointment early in her Australian Open campaign as she dropped the opening set 0-6 to Shelby Rogers in the first round, but from there Muguruza compiled a blistering run of matches to advance all the way to the final, beating the likes of Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Simona Halep without relinquishing a set. Muguruza looked to be in control as she took the first set against Sofia Kenin in the final, but a combination of running out of gas and phenomenal play from Kenin saw the American take the next two sets and the title.
It was a rough loss for Muguruza – and she could have been forgiven for a slow start to her next tournament given the circumstances, but the Spaniard has picked up from where she left off, showcasing two impressive performances in Dubai to reach the quarter-finals. Muguruza started her campaign with a 6-2 7-6(6) win over a return Kim Clijsters in which she was forced to dip deep to avoid a deciding set and followed that up with another tough victory over rising star Veronika Kudermetova (who was 3-2 vs top 20 players coming into the match) in the second round, prevailing by a 7-5 4-6 6-4 scoreline.
“It was a hard-fought match. Veronika is playing very well. I’m excited to get the win in a tough match like this,” she said. “I think she played super aggressive, super big serves. I’ve seen her results. She’s just getting better and better.
“There’s a lot of things that I could have done better. But I’m excited that I gave myself another opportunity to be in the quarterfinals, just staying in the fight because she was playing great, not giving up until the last point.”
Judging by her last two tournaments, Muguruza has certainly turned a corner in 2020, but how long can she keep this run of form up?
She comes up against one of the tour’s greatest improvers in the early stages of the season for a semi-final spot on Thursday.
Brady is an excellent 10-3 at all levels so far in 2020 and has only lost to multiple-time major champions in Petra Kvitova, Simona Halep and Svetlana Kuznetsova, indicating the calibre of opponent it’s taking to beat her these days.
The American first cracked the top 100 in 2017 when she qualified for the Australian Open and advanced all the way to the fourth round, while she was also a semi-finalist in Hong Kong to finish that season at No. 64 in the world. However, Brady found the going tougher in 2018 and only won five tour-level matches for the season, subsequently dropping back out of the top 100 as a result. The 24-year-old regrouped in 2019, posting a 15-16 record that included a semi-final run in Nottingham and third round showings in Indian Wells and Beijing, ending the season at No. 56 – and already Brady has taken her game to new levels in 2020, scoring wins over the likes of Maria Sharapova, Ashleigh Barty and Elina Svitolina.
Brady has already won five matches from qualifying in Dubai, beating Svitolina in the opening round before staging a remarkable comeback against French Open runner-up Marketa Vondrousova, winning 11 of the last 12 games of the match as she came back from 4-6 1-4 down to emerge triumphant 4-6 6-4 6-1 to make the quarter-finals.
Garbine Muguruza vs Jennifer Brady Prediction
If both players produce their current form, we should be in for a sensational match. It’s always great to see Muguruza knuckling down in a non-slam, while Brady is in the form of her life and proven she’s capable of taking out the very best on tour. I think Muguruza has the edge – the Spaniard shouldn’t fall away like Vondrousova did, and if she can carve out an early lead for herself, I believe the Australian Open runner-up will go on with the job.