French Open quarterfinal preview: Garbine Muguruza - Shelby Rogers

French Open quarterfinal preview: Garbine Muguruza - Shelby Rogers

Garbine Muguruza will play Shelby Rogers in the quarterfinals of the 2016 French Open.

jake-fletcher
Jake Fletcher

The fourth seed Garbine Muguruza will play unseeded Shelby Rogers for a place in the semifinals of the French Open, held on clay courts in Paris, France.

Recent Results

Despite an unsuccessful start to the year which saw her reach only one quarterfinal in six hard court events, Muguruza has found her feet on the clay. As the tour shifted to the dirt, the Spaniard reached her first semifinal of the year in Rome, made the quarterfinals in Stuttgart and collected her first top 10 wins of the season over Roberta Vinci and Timea Bacsinszky.

The fourth seed has gone from strength to strength since struggling past Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the first round, dropping a total of five games in her next two matches before taking out the 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-4 in the fourth round.

Rogers had only won six main draw matches at WTA level this year, four of which came in reaching the final at Rio, losing to Francesca Schiavone. Having largely competed on the ITF tour this spring, the American's success this week has been extremely surprising given her difficult draw.

After recovering from a set and a break behind to upset the 19th ranked Karolina Pliskova 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, the world number 108 defeated the Charleston finalist Elena Vesnina 6-4, 6-2 and 12th ranked Petra Kvitova 6-0, 6-7(3), 6-0. Though it seemed unlikely that she'd beat the in-form Irina-Camelia Begu in the fourth round, Rogers took full advantage of her opponent's fatigue to dominate the match 6-3, 6-4.

Rogers celebrates her unlikely success. Source: Getty Images/Miguel Medina

Past Experience

Muguruza is into her third successive French Open quarterfinal and is bidding to reach the semifinals here for the first time. Playing her best tennis since setting her career high of number three at the end of 2015, last year's Wimbledon finalist has a strong chance to become the first Spanish finalist here since Conchita Martinez in 2000.

In contrast, Rogers had never advanced beyond the third round of a major before and has been ranked no higher than number 70. However, clay has long since been the 23-year-old's best surface, given her run to the final in Bad Gastein 2014 where she accounted for clay court specialists Carla Suarez Navarro and Sara Errani.

Head-to-Head

The two players have never met before but Muguruza will certainly be the aggressor with her bigger game and weaponry.

The world number four has been bullying her opponents into submission all week and has the weight of shot necessary to hit through the heavier conditions given the rain.

Rogers will have to hope that the rain interruptions have unsettled her 22-year-old opponent's rhythm. Though she's had a fine run this week, the American hasn't had to face someone with both the fire-power and form of Muguruza and may find that her game, based on consistency and opportunistic aggression, comes under attack.

Prediction: Garbine Muguruza in straight sets

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