WTA 500 Doha Open: Semifinals: Victoria Azarenka vs Garbine Muguruza
The eighth seed Victoria Azarenka sets up a blockbuster showdown against Garbine Muguruza in the semifinals of the Doha Open.
Muguruza thrashed Greek player, Maria Sakkari 6-3 6-1 in the quarterfinals. The Spaniard was ruthless from start to finish smashing 4 aces, pounded 14 winners, and clinched 80% of her first-serve points. She lost only 9 points on her serve and broke Sakkari 5 times in the match.
On the other hand, Azarenka stunned the top seed, Elina Svitolina 6-2 6-4 in the quarters. The Belarusian won 62% of her first-serve points, fired 25 winners, and also converted 6 out of 12 breakpoints.
Head to Head record
Muguruza and Azarenka are squared 2-2 in the head to head record.
- Both Muguruza and Azarenka are former World number 1 players and two-time grand slam champions.
- Muguruza, the World number 16 is the highest-ranked unseeded player in the tournament.
- Muguruza has a 12-3 win-loss record this season.
- The Spaniard has dropped only one set (against Aryna Sabalenka) in the tournament so far.
- Azarenka is yet to lose a set in the WTA 500 - Doha Open.
- Azarenka won the Qatar Total Open two times (2012 and 2013) in her career.
- Azarenka is playing her 60th semifinal on the WTA Tour.
- Muguruza's best performance in the Doha Open was a runner-up finish in 2018 when she lost to Petra Kvitova in 3 sets in the finals.
- Muguruza lost in the quarters to Ashleigh Barty in three sets in Doha last year.
Azarenka wins a lot of free points on her first-serve. Her powerful groundstrokes help her to control the rallies. The Belarusian is a patient player who loves to destabilize her opponent's game as the match progresses.
She can neutralize second serves with her strong return game from the baseline. The only concern for Azarenka will if she is fully fit after receiving medical treatment from the trainer for a back injury during her straight-set win against Svitolina.
Muguruza is clever in redirecting the pace of her shots. She must improve her serving by not getting broken during the crunch moments.
Her composure was impressive in the close three-set win against defending champion, Sabalenka in the pre-quarterfinals. If her serve stays strong, her hard-hitting ability will help the Spaniard in taking more points.
How the vital Stats fare out for Muguruza and Azarenka in the tournament
|Player Name||Garbine Muguruza||Victoria Azarenka|
|First Serve Points Won||70.33%||59.67%|
|Second Serve Points Won||58.33%||57.67%|
|Breakpoint Conversion Rate||43.24%||50%|
"I really just tried to focus on what I could do, and not think about anything else, and try to find solutions and use every opportunity I had to play, I just tried to play point by point and not think about the score, how long it is going to take to play, if it is going to be two sets or three sets, I am really proud of the way I handled it mentally and how I approached this match," said Azarenka mighty pleased with her injury-laden victory against Svitolina in the quarterfinals.
The first set will be crucial for both the players to take the initial momentum. Azarenka may struggle with her movement if it is a long match. Muguruza will aim for a strong start to wrest control from the Belarusian.
Prediction - Garbine Muguruza to win in three sets
Feature Image Credits - Tennis.com