Thursday, 21 January 2016

Garbine excitement machine

Number 3 seed from Spain and perhaps the most exciting player on the WTA tour now and for the next 10 years is Garbine Muguruza.  Runner up at Wimbledon to Serena Williams last year after beating the same player at the French Open the previous year, the powerful young rising star - correction remove the word rising - is now a legitimate threat on most surfaces, and her task at Melbourne Park is to confirm her status and to dismiss fears of an injury reoccurrence.

Her second round opponent is Belgian Kirsten Flipkens, a vastly improved player and an unwanted danger so early in the draw.  Although Flipkens is currently ranked 80, it was only three years ago that she reached the fourth round here and achieved a ranking of 13.  Injury has hurt her ranking.  She is tough to beat.

The first games were of slight concern for the favoured player who found holding serve a tougher ask than did Kirsten.  Despite this 2-2 occurred, and no doubt the power of serve would capture many cheap points for the third seed.

A ripping forehand gave Muguruza 0-30 on the Flipkens serve in the fifth game, but a forehand in the same class from Belgium levelled the game.  Another Spanish forehand was a break point creator, snuffed out quickly with a clever move to the net by Kirsten.  The next break point from yet another forehand failed conversion as too the third chance.  A forehand put away at the net finally achieved the first break of the match and Garbine led the match 3-2.

After exerting her power on the first two points, Muguruza fell into error losing all the rest of the points and dropping serve - games were back on serve 3-3.

Another break of service was always possible when Flipkens was taken to deuce.  It took some time and effort but Muguruza found a way to achieve the come back break.

Better work around the court enabled Garbine to win points more regularly and she led 5-3.  Kirsten held but it was the number three seed serving for the set.  

At 40-0 after big serving and ground strokes things were rosy for Garbine but poor forehands, one wide and one landing in the net, slowed progress to the set.  A sloppy backhand gave us deuce and Muguruza looked shaky.  A big serve received an errant return but the resultant set point was also saved by Flipkens.  A brilliant drop shot from Belgium saved a fifth set point.  Finally a backhand down the line passing shot was enough to give the set to Garbine 6-4.

An immediate break of the Flipkens serve in set two was precisely the tonic for Muguruza and she pressed her foot on the accelerator.  A routine hold saw 2-0 and then a clinical taking apart of another Flipkens attempt resulted in the now predictable loss of serve and 3-0.
The forehand was overwhelmingly good to add to the powerful serve, and the future of women's tennis is mouth watering if Garbine can continue the rapid refinement of her vast array of weapons.

The march to victory was halted due to a stubborn Kirsten and careless Garbine combining for a Belgian break back and Kirsten trailed by just the one break 1-3.

However the mini revival was quashed directly and Kirsten sat down with a 1-4 deficit staring her in the face, the Spanish serve to come.  Garbine unlikely to slip up this time.

30-30 thanks to more errors from Garbine.  Then 30-40 and danger of another break. Only a brush with the line saved the break point.  Another break point was provided and a volley with purpose kept Garbine alive in the game.  A final ace was the game winner and helped the third seed to 5-1.

Flipkens served better in the seventh game and caused erratic returning from Muguruza with shots both wide and long.  5-2 and the Spanish star to serve for the match.

40-0 in a flash and a Flipkens return out of court on the first match point was the signal to put Garbine Muguruza into the third round of the 2016 Aus Ooen.  6-4 6-2

This was good but there is better to come from the next great Spanish racquet twirler.

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