Fixture: (2) Sofia Kenin vs (6) Garbine Muguruza
Date: February 4, 2021
Tournament: Yarra Valley Classic 2021
Venue: Melbourne, Australia
Category: WTA 500
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $565,530
Match timing: Approx. 8.00 pm local time, 1.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel
Sofia Kenin vs Garbine Muguruza preview
The quarterfinals of the Yarra Valley Classic will witness a blockbuster rematch of the 2020 Australian Open final between Sofia Kenin and Garbine Muguruza on Thursday.
Sofia Kenin has come back Down Under with memories of a fairytale Australian summer from 12 months ago. The 22-year-old showed guts and gumption to fight her way through seven rounds to win her maiden Major in 2020.
The ever-hungry Kenin did not slow down and made it to the final of the French Open as well, in a career-best season.
Kenin would be keen to continue in the same vein. The American has shown the same spark in a pretty decent start to the new season so far.
Having finished her campaign in the quarterfinals at Abu Dhabi, Kenin has made the last-eight stage in her second straight tournament.
While Camila Giorgi retired midway through Kenin's opener in Melbourne, the second seed had to dig deep against compatriot Jessica Pegula for a 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 win.
After a resurgent show in 2020 that included a runner-up finish in Melbourne and a semi-final appearance in Rome, World No. 15 Garbine Muguruza would aim to build on it.
The two-time Grand Slam champion won a couple of matches at Abu Dhabi before succumbing to the in-form Maria Sakkari.
At the Yarra Valley Classic, the former World No. 1 seems to have found her range as she swatted aside Alison Van Uytvanck 6-2, 6-0.
Looking dangerous as ever, she has thrown down the gauntlet to other challengers with yet another sublime performance in the Round of 16. In just 56 minutes, Muguruza pummeled Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 6-2 to set up the much-awaited clash with Kenin.
Sofia Kenin vs Garbine Muguruza head-to-head
Sofia Kenin holds a 2-0 lead over Garbine Muguruza in their head-to-head record, having won both their meetings in three sets.
In their most recent showdown at the 2020 Australian Open final, Kenin stormed back from three break points down in the decider to get the 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 win.
Sofia Kenin vs Garbine Muguruza prediction
The two players have reached the quarterfinals of the Yarra Valley Classic in contrasting style.
Garbine Muguruza has dropped just five games on her way to the last-eight. Kenin, meanwhile, had to fight for over two hours to see off Pegula in the pre-quarterfinals.
While that puts the Spaniard at an advantage, it needs to be remembered that she has never managed to get the better of Kenin.
The Australian Open champion's maturity and problem-solving skills on the court belie her age. Kenin's fighting spirit and her determination have made her stand out from the younger generation.
Besides, she has the game to frustrate Muguruza. Kenin's lighting-fast footwork, defense, and barrage of dropshots have the ability to break down the power game of the Spaniard.
Muguruza might once again make a quick start, just like she did in the Australian Open final last year. But once Kenin settles into the groove, she will look to use her variety to take the match away from the 27-year-old.
Prediction: Sofia Kenin to win in three sets.