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Dubai Open 2020: Kim Clijsters vs Garbine Muguruza, match preview and prediction

  • Can Clijsters make a triumphant return to tour against a rejuvenated Muguruza?
ANALYST
Preview
Modified 17 Feb 2020, 13:27 IST

Kim Clijsters will be making a second return to tennis after a long sabbatical
Kim Clijsters will be making a second return to tennis after a long sabbatical

One can count on four-time Grand Slam singles champion Kim Clijsters for never really being 'gone' even after the multiple retirements/sabbaticals; the Belgian is back on tour and yearning for more once again.

Clijsters has accepted a wildcard into the 2020 Dubai Tennis Championships and has drawn none other than fellow Grand Slam Champion and this year's Australian Open finalist Garbine Muguruza in the first round

The match-up has all the makings of an absolute stunner and the stakes are high for the returning Belgian.

Muguruza will be looking for redemption following her heartbreaking loss at the Australian Open.
Muguruza will be looking for redemption following her heartbreaking loss at the Australian Open.

For Muguruza, it will be about not letting the newfound momentum go to waste in Dubai. Her renewed partnership with Conchita Martinez yielded immediate results with a final finish in the year's first slam.

Muguruza did come up just short against Sofia Kenin and if there's anything that the two-time champion will be looking at going forward, it will be redemption. Redemption at not just the Australian Open loss, but a couple of recent sub-par seasons altogether.

She has never played Clijsters before, but Muguruza will take heart from her form on the Australian hard courts coming into this next leg of the long season.

Clijsters was one of the best returners on tour during her active years.
Clijsters was one of the best returners on tour during her active years.

The Belgian, for one, has probably one of the most well-rounded games of all time. Her movement is as slick as it can be and her groundstrokes off of both wings match the best in terms of technique and precision, if not power.

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It will be interesting to see how her serve holds up after such a long absence from competitive tennis. Clijsters relies heavily on volleys and guile at the net to finish points quickly, but she will have to severe strong to be able to do that consistently.

Muguruza isn't best known for blowing her opponents off the court and that's where the other elements of Clijsters' game, her return and characteristic offensive scrambling might tilt things in her favour.

Match fitness will be key if the match wears on, but if Muguruza lets up early aggression even for a minute, we might as well see a surprise triumph here on Monday evening.

Prediction: Clijsters to win in two tight sets.

Published 17 Feb 2020, 13:27 IST
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