The first ladies quarterfinal on Court One at Wimbledon on Wednesday is an absolute blockbuster, with 14th seed Garbine Muguruza and seventh seed Svetlana Kuznetsova facing off in an extremely interesting encounter.
Muguruza leads the head to head 3-1, having won the past three meetings between the two including a straight sets win in Brisbane earlier this year, though this will be their first meeting on grass, and Kuznetsova has had the stronger season of the two.
This is Muguruza’s second quarterfinal at Wimbledon, having previously made the final in 2015, whilst it is Kuznetsova’s fourth quarterfinal here, though it is her first since 2007. The winner will face 24th seed Coco Vandeweghe or Magdalena Rybarikova in the last four.
Road to the last eight
One of the reasons why this match is so interesting is that both Muguruza and Kuznetsova have been playing very so far, with each having four impressive performances on their way to the quarterfinal.
Despite not having made the last eight in ten years, Kuznetsova is yet to drop a set at SW19 this year. The Russian was very comfortable in her opening round, dropping just five games against qualifier Ons Jabeur, before dropping just five games once again against the potentially dangerous Ekaterina Makarova. She then breezed past another qualifier, Polona Hercog, for the loss of just four games to make the second week, where she impressed once again, easing past ninth seed and former finalist Agnieszka Radwanska to reach the last eight.
Muguruza has had a pretty rough year so far, but is playing by far her best tennis of the season at the All England Club. The Spaniard beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 6-4 in the opening round, and then beat Yanina Wickmayer by the same score in the second round. In the third round, the 14th seed eased past Sorana Cirstea for the loss of just four games, before battling past first seed Angelique Kerber in a thrilling three-set encounter; both women will be happy with how they have played so far.
Both women will be confident heading into this match, so we can assume that neither will be afraid to go for their shots. Both tend to be aggressive, though it is arguably the Spaniard who has the more power. That could be an advantage for the former finalist, though the Muguruza has made far too many errors in virtually all her big matches this year, and probably can’t afford that against such an experienced opponent.
Kuznetsova can also be error-prone in big matches as well, though one advantage she has is that she is the better movement of the two. The Russian should look to use her strong all-court game to push the Spaniard around the court, and open up spaces for her to safely end the points without any threat.
Meanwhile, Muguruza must try use her power to kill off points as quickly as possible, as the Russian is capable of working herself back into them. Serve is also key for the Spaniard, as it is for the seventh seed, as Muguruza can give away too many second serve opportunities if she is struggling.
This has all the makings of a great encounter, with both women playing extremely well on the grass so far. Kuznetsova has been the more consistent of the two this year and certainly has a good opportunity to make the semifinal for the first time at Wimbledon, though it seems that with her great form at this tournament, and with her power advantage, that Muguruza could just edge this.
Prediction: Garbine Muguruza in three sets