Garbine Muguruza vs Victoria Azarenka: Rome Masters Preview and Prediction

Ninth seed Garbine Muguruza squares off against Victoria Azarenka in an exciting quarterfinal at the Rome Masters. 

Muguruza began her campaign ousting Sloane Stephens 6-3 6-3. In a tough match against teen sensation Cori Gauff in the round of 32, the Spaniard stood strong outlasting her in three sets. She dished out a spectacular performance thrashing Johanna Konta 6-4 6-1 in the pre-quarterfinals. 

On the other hand, Azarenka got rid of her nemesis Venus Williams 7-6 6-2. She bulldozed past World number 5, Sofia Kenin 6-0 6-0 in the round of 32. 

It was going equally competitive at 6-6 with eight breaks of serve in the pre-quarterfinals against Daria Kasatkina before the Russian retired hurt due to a right ankle injury. Azarenka won hearts with her sportsmanship, she immediately rushed with a bag of ice, brushed the clay off her back, and consoled her opponent on the court. The Belarusian even helped pack her opponent's bag and kissed Kasatkina on her forehead. 

Head to Head record 

Azarenka leads the head to head record 2-1 against Muguruza. They clashed in the pre-quarterfinals of the Rome Masters last year which Azarenka won after Muguruza retired hurt due to a left thigh injury trailing 6-4 3-1.

Having won 14 of her last 15 matches on the tour, Azarenka is looking unstoppable and is the player to beat. Muguruza has held firm when it mattered against some quality components in this tournament. The slow clay of Rome has suited her style of play. 

“I don’t expect a lot of long rallies tomorrow, but when asked about potential tactics, it’s kind of silly that you expect us to talk about tactics in the press conference before a match,"  opined Azarenka ahead of the showdown. 

Having been a two-time semifinalist in Rome, Muguruza will look to have another shot at the title. Being a former runner-up in the Italian Open, this is Azarenka's best chance to clinch the tournament. While Azarenka will be high on confidence owing to her fabulous form, Muguruza is slowly getting into the groove and can put up a good fight against Azarenka.

Prediction - Victoria Azarenka to win in three sets

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