Fourth seed Garbiñe Muguruza begins her quest for her first Grand Slam title at the French Open against Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova. The Spaniard is a two-time quarterfinalist at the second Grand Slam tournament of the year and she will fancy her chances to go further.
Schmiedlova is a having a terrible 2016 season and she has suffered 11 first round losses this year. The Slovakian reached a career-high ranking of 26 in October last year but she is currently ranked at 37 and she would have been seeded had one more player withdrawn from the French Open.
Muguruza's past results in Paris
The Spaniard is competing in her fourth consecutive main draw appearance in Paris. In 2013 she was unseeded and she lost to 18th seed Jelena Janković in the second round. The following year in 2014 was her breakthrough as she defeated Serena Williams, the defending champion on Court Suzanne Lenglen 6-2, 6-2 and she lost to the eventual champion Maria Sharapova in three sets. Last year, Muguruza was seeded 20th and she lost to the eventual finalist Lucie Safarova in the quarterfinals.
Good draw for Muguruza
The fourth seed would have been very pleased yesterday to have seen her draw and avoid Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Angelique Kerber until the final, should two of them make it that far.
Ekaterina Makarova is a potential third round opponent, a player she thrashed in Rome but Svetlana Kuznetsova could prove to be a stern test for the Spaniard in the fourth round. Kvitova could be her quarterfinal opponent and she could play Radwanska or Halep in the semifinals. Muguruza is capable of going through that draw and becoming a Grand Slam finalist again.
Muguruza and Schmiedlova have played each other four times on the WTA tour and it is the Spaniard who has dominated the head-to-head by defeating Schmiedlova by being victorious in all four meetings winning them in straight sets. They played each other twice in 2014 at the Australian Open and French Open, last year in Wuhan and they played earlier this month at the Mutua Madrid Open.
The Spaniard will definitely feel confident in this match as Schmiedlova is on a downward spiral at the moment and Muguruza is comfortable playing on her favoured clay court surface.
Muguruza's serve and groundstrokes can overpower the Slovakian and if everything is clicking for the tall Spaniard, it should be a good match, where she can put down a statement to the rest of the field.
Muguruza isn't having the best of seasons but a semifinal appearance in Rome was just what the doctor had ordered. Schmiedlova defeated Venus Williams in the second round on Court Philippe Chatrier, two years ago which was the same day Muguruza defeated Serena Williams.
The former Wimbledon finalist knows this is a golden opportunity to get far in this tournament and potentially win her first grand slam title.
This match is scheduled third on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Prediction: Muguruza to win in straight sets.