Garbine Muguruza vs Sloane Stephens: Rome Masters Preview and Prediction
Ninth seed Garbine Muguruza takes on Sloane Stephens in the first round of the Rome Masters.
After suffering a surprise loss to Tsvetana Pironkova in straight sets in the second round of the US Open, Muguruza would look to prove that she is still a force to reckon on clay-courts.
On the other hand, Stephens is coming to this tournament with a close three-set defeat against Serena Williams in the third round of the US Open.
Head to Head record
Stephens leads the head to head record 2-1 against Muguruza. All their matches have finished in straight sets so far.
Strengths of Muguruza
Muguruza possesses a lot of firepower from the baseline. Her backhand is quite consistent and she can hit it effectively from the back of the court. The Spaniard must improve the accuracy of her serve as it let her down in recent times.
Strengths of Stephens
Stephens has impressive court speed. Her forehand mixed with topspin is often used to grab points. However, her defensive skills have become a liability as she does not take control of the rallies. The American is an incessant and clever retriever and Muguruza will have to watch out for that.
Having clinched the French Open in 2016, Muguruza will look back at that triumph for some inspiration. Stephens will aim to reproduce the form that defeated Muguruza in the fourth round of the Roland Garros last year. The American is no stranger to clay having finished as the runner-up in the 2017 French Open.
With both players aiming to resurrect their dismal 2020 season, it will be an equal contest with intense rallies. Their comfort level on the red dirt will increase as they play more matches.
The winner of this match will face Ons Jabeur or teen sensation Cori Gauff in the second round.
Prediction - Garbine Muguruza to win in three sets.
Featured image credits: tennis.com