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Rome 2020: Garbine Muguruza vs Coco Gauff preview, head-to-head & prediction | Italian Open

Garbine Muguruza faces Coco Gauff in the Rome 2nd round
Garbine Muguruza faces Coco Gauff in the Rome 2nd round
Mihir Gawade
ANALYST
Modified 17 Sep 2020, 01:23 IST
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Match details

Fixture: Garbine Muguruza vs Coco Gauff

Date: 17 September 2020

Tournament: Italian Open 2020

Round: Second round (Round of 32)

Venue: Rome, Italy

Category: WTA Premier 5

Surface: Red clay

Prize money: €1,771,082

Match timing: 12:30 pm CEST, 4 pm IST

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Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN

Garbine Muguruza vs Coco Gauff preview

Spain's Garbine Muguruza will face American teenage sensation Coco Gauff on Thursday, in the second round of the 2020 Italian Open at Rome.

Muguruza just couldn't get herself going at the US Open, where she lost in straight sets in the second round. But the No. 9 seed didn't seem to have carried those ghosts over to Rome, as she put up a flawless performance in her opening match at the Foro Italico.

The Spaniard comfortably dispatched Sloane Stephens in straight sets on Tuesday. She was strong on her first serve throughout the match, while also breaking her opponent's serve four times.

Coco Gauff, meanwhile, is playing her first professional WTA claycourt tournament in Rome. But she has been a junior French Open champion on the surface, winning the title when she was just 14 years old.

Coco Gauff is playing her first senior tournament on clay
Coco Gauff is playing her first senior tournament on clay

The teen phenom made her senior-tour breakthrough at Wimbledon last year, and has lived up to the hype ever since. Gauff has been doing incredibly well for her age wherever she has played over the last 12 months.

Looking at her results on the junior circuit, clay should theoretically be the American's strongest surface. But she is facing a former French Open champion in Garbine Muguruza on Thursday, so her task will be far from easy.

Garbine Muguruza vs Coco Gauff head-to-head

The head-to-head between Garbine Muguruza and Coco Gauff currently stands at 0-0. The second-round match in Rome will be the first career face-off between the pair.

Garbine Muguruza vs Coco Gauff prediction

Both Garbine Muguruza and Coco Gauff have achieved glory on clay in the past. Despite Gauff's inexperience at the senior level, she showed she is capable of replicating her junior claycourt feats by beating Ons Jabeur in her opening game for the loss of just seven games.

Muguruza on the other hand is in the prime of her career. She is also the more powerful player of the two, and has a more aggressive style of play.

The Spaniard is known for her ferocious groundstrokes off both wings, which can push any player on to the backfoot. She can dictate baseline rallies at will and take time away from her opponents, despite not going for outright winners every time.

Garbine Muguruza
Garbine Muguruza

However, that could well play into the hands of Gauff's counterpunching game. The American can absorb the pace of her opponent's groundstrokes without making many errors, and redirect their powerful shots into awkward spots.

Gauff is also known for her spirited comebacks. She has already shown incredible mental strength to frequently dig herself out of losing situations, despite her young age.

The match will likely be an enthralling encounter between a two-time Slam champion and a future great of the game, and should be one of the picks of the day.

Prediction: Coco Gauff to win in three sets.

Published 17 Sep 2020, 01:23 IST
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