2017 WTA Finals Player Profile: Garbiñe Muguruza

World number two Garbiñe Muguruza will look to end off her impressive year on a high note at the WTA Finals after her triumph in Wimbledon and Cincinnati earlier in the year, coupled with her ascend to the number one ranking last month.

2017 WTA Finals Player Profile: Garbiñe Muguruza
Garbine Muguruza poses with her number one trophy | Photo: Matt Roberts/Getty Images AsiaPac

Garbiñe Muguruza, one of the most solid and consistent players on tour this year, will make her third consecutive appearance at the WTA Finals after claiming her second Grand Slam title this year. Muguruza is also one of the five players who owned the top spot in the rankings throughout the year, and she looks to mount a huge challenge for the title here in Singapore. A good run here in Singapore could also earn Muguruza the year-end number one ranking.

Notable Results to Date

This year, Muguruza managed to find a new level of consistency as she was able to make the quarterfinals in 11 different tournaments, which allowed her to take the number one ranking for the first time in her career.

A tough start to the year saw her plagued by injuries but she was able to keep her place in the top-10 with good runs in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Rome. Muguruza soon reached the lowest point of her year, failing to defend her title at the French Open and thus falling out of the top-10 for the first time since 2015.

Garbine Muguruza in action at the French Open, where she fell to home favourite Kristina Mladenovic | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
Garbine Muguruza in action at the French Open, where she fell to home favorite Kristina Mladenovic | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

However, she came out of nowhere to claim the Wimbledon title as the 15th-ranked player in the world, ousting the top-ranked Angelique Kerber and world number eight Svetlana Kuznetsova in her path to the final. As the underdog, Muguruza beat the experienced Venus Williams in the final, triumphing in straight sets and sending her back into the top five.

Muguruza was able to follow up her results, unlike her first Major back in 2016, having reached the semifinals in Stanford and the quarterfinals of the Rogers Cup. The Spaniard’s impressive run continued when she clinched the title in Cincinnati, saving a match point against nemesis Madison Keys before outlasting Kuznetsova, nemesis Karolina Pliskova, and Simona Halep.

It was the US Open where Muguruza finally claimed the number one ranking after Pliskova failed to defend her US Open points, and she was able to stay at the top until the China Open where Simona Halep took it away from her after the Spaniard had a disappointing Asian Swing.

Garbine Muguruza posing along with her Wimbledon trophy | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
Garbine Muguruza posing along with her Wimbledon trophy | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

Best WTA Finals Result

Muguruza made her first appearance at the Finals in 2015 when she had a breakout year having reached the Wimbledon final. Being the second seed, the Spaniard was simply unstoppable when she stormed through the round-robin winning all three of her matches against three lefties in Lucie Safarova, Angelique Kerber, and Petra Kvitova. However, she lost to eventual champion Agnieszka Radwanska in a tight semifinal despite being the favorite to claim the title on her debut, but she still managed to end the year as the third-ranked player.

The current world number two was able to make a second consecutive appearance in Singapore, having won her first major in her career at the French Open which allowed her to be part of the elite eight. This time, Muguruza fell at the first hurdle after losing two matches against Agnieszka Radwanska and Karolina Pliskova, against whom she had match points, but managing to claim a win to end off the year against Svetlana Kuznetsova. Muguruza will make her third consecutive appearance in Singapore this year.

Garbine Muguruza was a crowd favourite in Singapore | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
Garbine Muguruza was a crowd favourite in Singapore | Photo: Clive Brunskill/AsiaPac

Results Entering Singapore

Muguruza had been in poor form after the US Open, failing to reach any semifinals. Being the world number one, the Spaniard was outclassed by Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals of the Toray Pan Pacific Open where her footwork looked out-of-place and she was misfiring throughout the match, looking out-of-sorts.

The Spaniard entered the Wuhan Open as the top-ranked player once more, but she once again fell at the last eight to the eventual semifinalist Jelena Ostapenko. Muguruza then conceded the number one ranking to Simona Halep at the China Open, after a virus caused her to retire in her opening match against Barbora Strycova. The former world number one will enter Singapore with a two-match losing streak.

Garbine Muguruza speaking at her post-match press conference in Beijing, where she had to retire in her first round match | Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images Asia Pacific
Garbine Muguruza speaking at her post-match press conference in Beijing, where she had to retire in her first round match | Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images AsiaPac

How does Muguruza fare against the rest of the field

Muguruza holds a positive 3-1 record against the current world number one Simona Halep, winning their one-sided meeting in the Cincinnati final. However, the Spaniard struggles against Karolina Pliskova but was able to grab a win against the Czech this year, also in Cincinnati. Muguruza also won her last meetings against Venus Williams and Caroline Garcia, but she owns a negative 16-18 overall record against the field.

How Muguruza’s game translates to the surface

The slow surface in Singapore might backfire against the aggressive Muguruza, but it could also work well for her, especially when the rest of the field are also hard-hitting players. The Spaniard could be extremely solid while on the defense, but she should still attempt to dictate play and charge towards the net more often. Muguruza loves the angles on her groundstrokes and the power on her serve could also win her a couple of free points in the process.

Muguruza will enter Singapore as the second seed and one of the favorites for the title if she were to be able to recover from her virus which forced her to retire against Barbora Strycova in Beijing. The Spaniard will also play for the number one ranking in Singapore, as she could take the year-end number one ranking with a good run especially with Halep defending the same amount of points as her.

Garbine Muguruza will be back in Singapore to fight for the title | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images AsiaPac
Garbine Muguruza will be back in Singapore to fight for the title | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images AsiaPac