Wimbledon: van Uytvanck shakes up ladies draw eliminating Muguruza


Alison van Uytvanck played the match of her season at the championships at Wimbledon Thursday night. As the sun set on the grass courts of the All England Club, the Belgian dominated in the final two sets to take down third-seeded Garbine Muguruza 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 ending the defending champion’s run on No. 2 Court. It was the first win for van Uytvanck against a top-five player and one she will carry as her best performance on grass.

The match was four years in the making for the two who were on polar opposites coming into the second round. Muguruza kept her title defence hopes alive with a strong first round win against Naomi Broady while van Uytvanck had her straight sets win against Polona Hercog on lock. With a big challenge in front of the Belgian, she would have to stay focused and look for ways to counter the high ranked and talented Spaniard.

A good hold for van Uytvanck had her leading the way to start the match hoping to keep her pace together against what Muguruza produced. They settled in at two-all after four until van Uytvanck held before going for a surprising twist. The Belgian took one against Muguruza’s serve showing calm and aggression against the Spaniard to send tension into her game. The 24 year old was down two games but recovered to win the next three and slide all the problems her opponent’s way.

The Belgian began to feel the difficulties faced against Muguruza’s serve but somehow pulled off a break to level back at five-all. Showing no concern on her face, the world number three delivered the big hits on van Uytvanck to break her in the 11th before calmly winning the set 7-5 after 47 minutes. The Spaniard served 60 percent for points and had 19 overall winners in the set while limiting the errors to just seven.

With the set up on van Uytvanck, Muguruza started the second breaking her again to maintain a winning streak spanning three games. It didn’t faze the Belgian as she got onto the board breaking back in the second in her effort to stay in the set by every means. She started to gain points in the following games that caused Muguruza to struggle on serve giving van Uytvanck a 4-2 lead. it was enough of a gap for van Uytvanck to hold as she took the next two games from the third seed to force a third set into play closing out 34 minutes in the second set.

She carried a five-game winning streak along winning the first game that had Muguruza concerned that her game was losing its pep to dominate her opponent. She was fortunate to set up a serve to love as her first in some time to keep things even early. What she hoped for more improvements turned into a grip for the Belgian as she had Muguruza beaten at every point of the set taking full control at times before capping recording each game to her name.

By the time she served for it all in the seventh, the nerves to complete the set were heavy. After winning a challenge on a served shot in, she had to replay the point which she blasted inside the court that the Spaniard missed giving her a massive victory this season after 1 hour and 51 minutes.

From the moment she started her march to victory, van Uytvanck had her serve in control while the second serve of Muguruza’s struggled. With that and the return game underperforming, it allowed the Belgian to run to the finish line in a surprise to many. The draw was again shaken up severely on Day Four of the tournament with van Uytvanck in a position to take on Anett Kontaveit on Saturday.

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Edited by Kishan Prasad
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