Top seed and world #3 Garbine Muguruza of Spain faces off against Romania’s Ana Bogdan, the world #90. Muguruza has had a difficult start to the season. Apart from making the final in Qatar, she has suffered a number of early losses, most disappointingly in Melbourne, Indian Wells and Miami. However, she looks to be finding some rhythm in Mexico. Standing in her way is Bogdan, a former junior world #2. But who will come out on top?
Muguruza and Bogdan have never met before on Tour. However, they do have very different levels of experience. Bogdan, though a year older, has never before won a WTA singles title, and indeed will be looking to reach her first final in Monterrey. Her best effort at one of the Slams was reaching the third round of the Australian Open earlier this year. In contrast, Muguruza is a two-time Grand Slam champion, having won the French Open and Wimbledon, and owns a total of five Tour-level titles.
Path to the semifinals
Muguruza has so far been dominant in Monterrey. She began her campaign against local wildcard Renata Zarazua and crushed the 20-year-old for the loss of just two games, in what was a chastening early experience for Zarazua. She backed that up with a comfortable win against the USA’s Alison Riske, who she defeated 6-2 6-3. Muguruza was similarly impressive against Ajla Tomljanovic in the quarterfinals, dismissing the eighth seed 6-3 6-0.
Bogdan began her Monterrey campaign with a hard-fought three set win against Mexico’s Victoria Rodriguez, defeating the 22-year-old wild card 4-6 6-4 7-6 to reach the round of 16. There she put in a more accomplished performance to win in straight sets 6-2 6-3 against Sara Sorribes Torno. That left her facing Danielle Collins of the United States who had reached the quarterfinals after the third seeded Lesia Tsurenko had withdrawn. But Bogdan ran out a comfortable 6-2 6-4 winner.
How do they match up?
Muguruza will look to impose herself on this match early on using her powerful groundstrokes. Her backhand is probably her best shot, with the Spaniard’s two-hander being rock solid. But it is not only a rallying shot, she is well-capable of hitting aggressively with it, and excels at taking the ball down the line to open up the court. Her forehand is also a useful weapon. It will be interesting to see how much Muguruza looks to get into the forecourt. Though she has added attacking the net into her game, she is still not the most comfortable volleyer.
Bogdan lacks the power of Muguruza, but possesses consistent and reliable groundstrokes. Like the world #3, her backhand is her best shot, and it would be no surprise to see the Romanian run around her forehand to bring her backhand into play during this match. She is also a good mover, it was her defensive skills that were vital in securing the biggest win of her career against Mladenovic in Melbourne earlier this year. She will have to have another hugely impressive day defensively if she wants to spring another upset.
So far Muguruza’s attempt to find rhythm and get some match wins under her belt in Monterrey has worked well. It’s hard to see her running into too many problems against Bogdan either. Though the Romanian impressed in her last two matches Muguruza represents a serious step up in quality, one that Bogdan will not be able to overcome. Expect Muguruza to reach her second final of the year in straight sets.
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