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French Open 2019: Garbine Muguruza Vs Sloane Stephens, Round of 16, preview and prediction

ANALYST
Preview
02 Jun 2019, 12:23 IST

Sloane Stephens(left) and Garbine Muguruza
Sloane Stephens(left) and Garbine Muguruza

Following an impressive straight-sets 6-3, 6-3 win over Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, Garbine Muguruza will meet the 2018 French Open runner-up Sloane Stephens in the Round of 16 of the 2019 French Open.

Sloane Stephens, seeded seventh, had to work hard against Polona Hercog in their third round clash, needing three sets to go past the Slovenian, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.

Stephens, who prefers playing on clay, has had an indifferent season on her favourite surface so far. She made it to the quarterfinals and the semi-finals of the Charleston Open and the Madrid Open, respectively, but slumped to first-round exit in Rome just before heading into the second Grand Slam of the year.

The 2016 Roland Garros champion Garbine Muguruza, who was forced to retire from her Round of 16 clash against Victoria Azarenka in Rome due to thigh injury, also lost in Madrid in the first round. She would be hoping to turn her fortunes around at the French Open.

Head to head, Stephens and Muguruza are tied 1-1, but their fourth-round clash at Roland Garros would be their first meeting on clay. Muguruza, in particular, would be upbeat after her formidable win over Svitolina and would fancy her chances against the American.

On the other hand, for Stephens, hasn’t won a French Open title yet despite clay being her favourite surface. She lost to Simona Halep in the finals last year and would be looking forward to improving on that this year.

Garbine Muguruza upbeat after her win over Elina Svitolina
Garbine Muguruza upbeat after her win over Elina Svitolina

Despite losing her first set of the tournament, Muguruza has appeared to be her dominant self so far, taking the game to her opponents. Though her first-serve percentage has been on the lower end in the previous two rounds, her serving still remains deadly.

For Sloane Stephens, there is no room for complacency through the match as Muguruza can make her pay for even the slightest of mistakes or loss of concentration. The Spaniard would be her first major test at this year’s French Open.

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The clash promises to be a fascinating, absorbing encounter between two formidable players who love the surface and have had success on it.

Prediction: Garbine Muguruza to win in three sets.

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