Garbiñe Muguruza captured her second career WTA singles title at the 2015 China Open, defeating Timea Bacsinszky 7-5, 6-4 in a thoroughly entertaining final. With this victory, Muguruza will rise to a career high ranking of number four in the world, just one point behind world number three Maria Sharapova. The 22-year-old will also be the number two seed at the WTA Finals in Singapore, assuming that Simona Halep doesn’t withdraw.
Muguruza clinches crucial break to win titanic opening set
In the opening stages of this final, it was clear that both women were really nervous given that they both had a chance to win the biggest title of their career thus far. When players get nervous, their serve is usually the area of their game that breaks down. This was the case early on, as five of the first six games of the match were breaks of serve. Bacsinszky managed to stop the rot in game seven, as she held for a 5-2 lead. Muguruza, who had been serving well all week, looked extremely tight and her booming first serve and thunderous ground strokes weren’t working consistently to give Bacsinszky much trouble.
However, in game eight, things began to turn around for the Wimbledon finalist. It all started with a hold of serve. With a hold to 15, Muguruza was able to hold serve for the first time all-match, which seemed to settle the world number five. Thankfully for her, Bacsinszky’s service game woes had returned, and the Spaniard broke back to love. Now beaming with confidence, Muguruza held to 15 to draw level at five-games-apiece.
The following game was extremely important for both women. After squandering a 5-2 lead, Bacsinszky desperately needed to stop the momentum that Muguruza had accumulated but had to rely on her serve to edge her nose in front, which was broken a total of three times in the first set. Muguruza on the other hand, was looking to continue her momentum into the latter stages of the opening set, in an attempt to go a set clear in this final.
In that game, it was Muguruza who seized her opportunities when they presented themselves. Breaking at the first time of asking, the Spanish number one had a chance to serve for the set, with a 6-5 lead. When she had a chance to secure the opening set, the 22-year-old made no mistake. With a hold to 30, Muguruza had claimed the opening set 7-5, and was one set away from the biggest title of her career to date.
Early break for Muguruza is enough to see off Bacsinszky
Surprisingly, it was Bacsinszky who began the second set with the upper hand, holding and breaking to go up an early 2-0 lead. But just like in the first set, the Swiss number two was unable to consolidate most of the breaks she had earned, which gave Muguruza a small lifeline that the Spaniard took full advantage of. As a result, Muguruza broke straight back.
From there, both women held their respective service games until the ninth game of the second set, where Bacsinszky was serving with the score leveled at four-games-all. After the Swiss won the first two points of the game with some smart, tactical play, Muguruza reeled off four points in a row by using her powerful ground strokes to force errors from Bacsinszky. As a result, the Wimbledon finalist broke serve and had a chance to serve for her second WTA singles title.
Given the occasion, Muguruza didn’t appear to be nervous or overwhelmed at all, a sight that was clearly missing in the early stages of this final. The world number five closed out the match in emphatic fashion, with yet another big backhand that sent Bacsinszky was unable to return. As she fell onto her backside, Garbiñe Muguruza had defeated Timea Bacsinszky 7-5, 6-4 in a hard-fought final to claim her second WTA singles title.