Garbine Muguruza is 27-5 lifetime at Roland Garros, and looking like a favorite again…
Garbiñe Muguruza has powered through her last six sets here in Paris after dropping the first set of her first round match with Taylor Townsend on Court Simonne Mathieu. Not considered by many as a title contender before the tournament started but she most certainly will be if she can get through to the quarter-finals.
Here are five takeaways from Muguruza’s hot run so far in Paris.
Garbi Loves Paris
The record says it all. 2016 champion Muguruza is 27-5 lifetime at Roland Garros and she is one of just two players in the draw that has a semi-final strike rate of greater than 33 percent (she has reached at least the semis on two of her six appearances).
“I feel very good in this tournament,” she told Tennis Now on Friday in Paris. “I have always loved it since I was a little girl. I also love the clay court. Yeah, I don't know what is about French Open that gives me always, like, a nice mood and my tennis develops much better.”
Now living in Switzerland, Muguruza says that she has been learning French and she was eager to show the crowd what she had learned after her victory over Elina Svitolina on Court Philippe Chatrier on Friday.
“I have been living already for almost four years in Switzerland in the French part, and I have, for a long time also, have on my team my trainer, is French, and my coach, as well. So I guess it's now or never,” she said. “I'm putting the work in, and obviously I have a chance to speak here. I don't want to miss it.”
Next? Sloane Stephens?
If Sloane Stephens defeats Petra Martic on Friday, Muguruza will face last year’s runner-up in the round of 16. It’s a tough draw but the Spaniard has the right mentality about every match in Roland Garros.
“I try to approach each match like a final,” said Muguruza in press on Friday.
The Draw Looks Good Past Stephens
The winner of the potential Stephens/Muguruza match will sit very nicely in the draw on the bottom half. None of Muguruza’s potential quarter-final opponents (Bencic/Vekic/Konta/Kuzmova) have ever been past the third round in Paris. Two-time Roland Garros quarter-finalist Kaia Kanepi lurks as a potential semi-final opponent, but Muguruza would surely be favored if that match occurred.
It’s Not any Single thing—It’s Everything
No single stat of Muguruza’s really jumps off the page. She’s winning 81 percent of her service games (tied for 10th among remaining players) and 50 percent of her return games (tied for 19th). But she’s playing confidently on both sides of the ball and starting to feel her stride on the surface that she loves.
Most of all, she’s playing with poise and playing relaxed. Getting past a difficult first round has proven to be the perfect tonic for the Spaniard. It’s a brand new year but the same gifted Muguruza, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that she is steadily emerging as a title contender.
“I don't try to compare, but I have a very clear purpose in my mind that I'm trying to follow it, to chase it, to improve, to hold the trophies, and being patient, it's key for that,” she said.