WTA Miami: Garbine Muguruza edges past Zhang Shuai in three sets

WTA Miami: Garbine Muguruza edges past Zhang Shuai in three sets

Garbine Muguruza managed to fend off the tough challenge of Zhang Shuai in the third round of the Miami Open, triumphing in three tough sets.

don-han
Don Han

Garbine Muguruza took revenge for her loss in Doha by defeating Zhang Shuai in the third round of the Miami Open in three sets, progressing to the fourth round where she would face Caroline Wozniacki there.

Zhang steals the first set

Zhang seemed on course for a comfortable service hold to start the match with, but Muguruza managed to come from 40-0 down to get to deuce, hoping to get a chance to earn a break of service in the opening game. Nevertheless, Zhang managed to overcome her early jitters to narrowly hold her service and get the perfect start to the match.

Garbine Muguruza in action | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images North America
Garbine Muguruza in action | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images North America

That tough service hold seemed to give her confidence and momentum needed to break serve in her opening return game, taking the early lead as Muguruza was constantly troubled by Zhang’s deep groundstrokes. Despite so, the Spaniard stormed back to get the break back straight in the next game, disallowing Zhang from consolidating the service break as she managed to return on serve. After an exchange of service holds, it was the Chinese who made the next breakthrough once again as she broke serve in the sixth game to regain the lead after coming up with some excellent returns.

Similar to the opening stages of the match, Zhang failed to consolidate the break as she let her efforts go down in vain despite saving five break points, allowing Muguruza to return level as soon as possible once more. A tough service hold in the ninth game then placed Zhang one game away from winning the first set, fending off the tough challenge of the Spaniard. Just at the most crucial moment of the set, Zhang stepped up her game by dictating play with her solid groundstrokes, earning a set point opportunity. Muguruza then crumbled to the pressure as she threw in an unexpected double fault there, gifting the first set 6-4 to Zhang after 56 minutes.

Zhang Shuai in action | Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America
Zhang Shuai in action | Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America

Muguruza fights back

Zhang looked poised to have a perfect start to the second set as she earned game point opportunity in the opening game of the set, but Muguruza had other ideas as she made her way back to clinch the service break and earned the early lead, hoping to level the match. Zhang had two chances to break straight back in the next game but she failed to take her chances because Muguruza forced her to make errors on those points, allowing the Spaniard to hold serve and consolidate the break.

Zhang’s slow start to the second set continued to cost her greatly as she was broken for the second time in a row to gift Muguruza a double break lead, and looked on course to win the set easily. The world number six originally had a chance to have a triple break lead when she led 4-0* 30-0* at one point of time before Zhang maintained her composure to hold her serve and get onto the scoreboard. Nevertheless, Muguruza eventually closed out the set with a dominating 6-2 scoreline having saved a break point while serving for the set, leveling the match after the 37 minutes set.

Zhang Shuai failed to take her chances well | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images North America
Zhang Shuai failed to take her chances well | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images North America

Muguruza cruises to victory

It was a similar story as compared to the first two sets as Zhang started the set with a tough hold of service, getting off to a positive start. This marked the start of Muguruza’s excellent run as the top 10 player went on a rampage, rattling five straight games as Zhang started to be frustrated with herself and unforced errors were coming off her racquet more often. Throughout those five consecutive games that she lost, Zhang only won a mere total of six points as she was totally outclassed by Muguruza in every aspect of the game.

The Chinese actually had a chance for an improbable comeback after holding her serve narrowly before earning a 0-40 lead with three break points when Muguruza was serving for the match, having the golden opportunity to lessen the deficit. Unforced errors then started to haunt Zhang once again as she struggled to convert the break points, which eventually paved the way for Muguruza to seal up the match after 2 hours and 7 minutes of play.

Garbine Muguruza celebrates the win | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images North America
Garbine Muguruza celebrates the win | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images North America
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