Two of this year’s Grand Slam champions Garbiñe Muguruza and Jelena Ostapenko will face off on the opening day of the 2017 WTA Finals held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium as they look to start their Singapore campaign on a perfect note. This encounter will begin at 7.30 pm local time, and it would be the last match of the first day.
Muguruza’s recent results entering Singapore
The Wimbledon champion won her first matches as the world number one after the US Open, defeating Monica Puig and Caroline Garcia for a quarterfinal run at the Toray Pan Pacific Open, where she was totally outclassed by Caroline Wozniacki. Another disappointing campaign followed at the Wuhan Open, falling to Ostapenko in three sets at the last eight. Muguruza was obviously struggling with an injury but to add onto her sufferings, she was down with a virus in Beijing, and therefore she was forced to retire in her first-round match against Barbora Strycova.
Ostapenko’s recent results entering Singapore
The Roland Garros champion enters Singapore with several good runs on the road. After a disappointing exit to Daria Kasatkina at the US Open, Ostapenko claimed the title at the Korea Open with an excellent win over Beatriz Haddad Maia in the final before storming to the semifinals at the Wuhan Open with three consecutive three-set victories, including a win over Muguruza. Yet another run to the last four followed at the China Open, ousting dangerous opponents before falling to Simona Halep in straight sets, a win which made Halep the new world number one.
In this match-up between Roland Garros champions of 2016 and 2017, it is Muguruza who leads their head-to-head by a small margin of 2-1. However, the Spaniard’s wins both came on clay while Ostapenko’s lone win over the two-time Grand Slam champion just came recently in Wuhan during the Asian Swing. The Latvian came from 0-2 down in the final set and rattled off six consecutive games to claim the confidence-boosting victory, her first-ever win over a reigning world number one.
Ostapenko is obviously the more aggressive player of the two, and inevitably she would look to control the play throughout the match. Muguruza’s groundstrokes may not match-up with the Latvian in terms of power, but she could turn the rallies in her favor with the angles on them. The Spaniard has an explosive game, but she needs to be patient especially on the slow surface in Singapore. The former world number one has a better net game than the Roland Garros champion, and she could charge towards the net more often to finish off the points.
The surface will not only bother Muguruza but also Ostapenko. The world number seven plays a high-risk game where she would go for all or bust. If it were to be her day, the Latvian is capable of hitting consecutive winners without facing any problems. However, if she were to have a poor match, those winners could easily become unforced errors. The first serve percentage is extremely crucial for Ostapenko as Muguruza would be able to comfortably pounce on those vulnerable second serves of hers.
The outcome of the match will definitely depend on Ostapenko. The Latvian is the favorite to clinch the win if she were to have a good day and fire on all cylinders, otherwise, Muguruza could take the advantage of her opponent’s unforced errors and prevail with the victory.
However, there is a major concern with Muguruza’s health and form especially after she retired in her last tournament in Beijing three weeks ago. Nonetheless, she looked great in her practices earlier in the week, therefore health should not pose a problem.
Match Prediction: Jelena Ostapenko d. Garbine Muguruza in three sets