Monday, 20 January 2014

Muguruza a new Spanish star

Caroline Wozniacki has made the semis here before and seeded 10th was expected to win through to at least the fourth round.  However she wasn't expecting the run of Spain's newest star Garbine Muguruza.  The 38th ranked player won in Hobart as a qualifier and already knocked out Kanepi the 24th seed in the first round here.  Wozniacki would have a tough fight.
Caro began with a volley winner in her opening serve, but was beaten soundly after that with shots to her backhand forcing mistakes and a backhand from Muguruza winning wide approval.  The Spanish newbie 1-0 and after saving 2 break points herself she stung a forehand winner to lead 2-0.

Wozniacki held with a brilliant forehand of her own before breaking Muguruza after the Spanish player netted a couple of forehands.
Taking it personally, Muguruza broke straight back and held the edge with a powerful game that was fresh and could be around women's tennis for some time.

At 3-4, Caro executed her plan for saving the set.   Directing much of her anger at the Spanish forehand she was measured enough to play mistake free and not try outlandish shots just to maybe end a rally a little quicker.  Muguruza's forehand suffered and the errors mounted enough to earn the Danish former number one a break and games were 4-4.
The metal edge was now with the more experienced player and Caro had a love game on serve, featuring two backhand winners and led 5-4, asking the question "Can you hold serve now that you have to just to remain in contention for the set?" or more likely stating "Gotcha now"
Two double faults and unforced errors, one off each side, were gifts from Muguruza to Wozniacki as she announced that the set would be Caro's in a complicated deal 6-4.

Set two saw wonderful tennis - the baseline exchanges were consistently top class with winning the point the goal rather than waiting until someone mishit one.
The first four games went with serve, as did the fifth with Wozniacki still in charge on serve.  The sixth game provided Caro two break point chances during a lengthy test of Muguruza's resolve, but the Spanish player stuck firm and survived the crisis.
She then had another crisis at 3-4, when having to face three more break points on her serve.  The fact that she could save these with an ace, a forehand volley winner and backhand winner is testimony to her character and her skill under pressure.

At 5-5 Muguruza turned the tables, breaking the recently impenetrable Danish serve to be just her own serve from levelling the match.  Garbine Muguruza won the second set 7-5 and was equal 4-6 7-5.

The final set was Muguruza flying and Wozniacki sinking.  Breaking the first two Danish serves of the set meant that (despite losing one of her own) Muguruza could control the set.  Which she did.  Out of nine serve games, six were breaks of serves.
Muguruza won 4-6 7-5 6-3

The more experienced player was the one who couldn't survive the pressure of a third round match at a major, and it would be fun to see whichever other top players Garbine may trouble in Aus Open 2014.

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