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BNP Paribas Open 2019: Serena Williams vs Garbine Muguruza- Preview and Prediction

879   //    09 Mar 2019, 22:53 IST

Serena Williams and Garbine Muguruza at th2016 French Open Final
Serena Williams and Garbine Muguruza at the 2016 French Open Final

In the round of 32 at 2019 BNP Paribas Open, two former world number ones, Serena Williams and Garbine Muguruza face each other in a mouth-watering clash.

This will be the sixth time that the duo will face each other. Remarkably, this will be their first match outside the grand slam arena! All of their five previous meetings have come in the grand slams, including two grand slam finals, one at the Wimbledon Championships and the other at the French Open. The American leads this rivalry 3-2.

Though their head-to-head record gives little away regarding one player dominating the other, a closer look suggests a clear pattern. The Spaniard has won both the matches played on clay and the American has won the two hard court matches as well as the solitary grass court match.

Since the BNP Paribas Open is played on hard and bouncy courts, it clearly favours Serena Williams. Her epic victory over former world number one, Victoria Azarenka, in a very high quality match must have ensured that she is battle-hardened even after not playing any match since her heart-breaking Australian Open loss to Karolina Pliskova.

On the other hand, Muguruza has played a fair amount of tennis since her fourth round loss at the Australian Open, but has not been able to capture her best form yet. She has barely managed to reach the final stages of the Championships.

But her facile win against Lauren Davis in her opening match here must have given her a lot of confidence. She dropped only four games in the match, broke her opponent four times without getting broken even once, while both her first and second serve win percentages were above 70.

If she can carry that sort of form to the match against Serena, she can certainly make it a very competitive affair. She is one of the very few players who has defeated Serena at big events, the most important of which came at the 2016 French Open. She is a proven big match player and certainly has it in her to cause an upset if Serena has a dip in her level.

Prediction: Serena Williams to win in 3 Sets