World number 16 Garbine Muguruza will face the 39th-ranked player and American Sloane Stephens in the first round of the 2020 WTA Italian Open on Monday, September 14. The match timing will be decided soon. Get the live streaming options of this Garbine Muguruza v Sloane Stephens match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Garbine Muguruza v Sloane Stephens Head to Head
There have been three previous outings between Muguruza and Stephens, with the American leading 2-1. This includes their last meeting on clay which came at the 2019 French Open and Stephens stunned Muguruza in the fourth round.
Muguruza Bowed out Early at US Open
There were question-marks over the participation of Garbine Muguruza at the US Open because of an injury that had earlier caused her to miss the Cincinnati Open. Playing in her first competition of any kind since February, Muguruza registered a straight set win over Nao Hibino in the first round but fell to Tsvetana Pironkova in the second.
Pironkova, who was unranked going into the US Open, showed her mettle throughout the tournament, reaching the quarterfinal, testing Serena Williams before falling in three. In short, while losing to the Bulgarian was an upset, the pain might have eased off given how well Pironkova played all tournament.
The bigger question, however, is whether Muguruza can get back to the kind of quality that was on display before the players went on the pandemic break.
The Spaniard and former world number one, who has had a wretched couple of seasons, showed enough to suggest her form was back when she made the semifinal at the Shenzhen Open and followed it up with the final at the Australian Open.
Now while Muguruza will be playing in her first match on clay, there’s always that 2016 French Open title to look back at for confidence. What she would need obviously is some rhythm.
Stephens, a Surprise Third Round US Open Show
A former world number three, a US Open winner and a French Open runner-up, Sloane Stephens looked like she had everything going for her. That, however, has been the limit of her successes at the highest level and which is why even a third round appearance at the US Open earlier last week sounded like bit of a surprise.
That she even managed to take a set off Serena Williams in that round three loss would have been a shot in the arm, but Stephens has a mountain to climb before she can be called as being back to her best.
Because it’s tough to forget how Stephens’ season had gone till before that US Open campaign.
In the seven tournaments she played on hard court surfaces all season, Stephens had recorded a mere one win, losing in the opening rounds of six competitions. This included defeats to Leylah Fernandez and Caroline Garcia in the two she played after the pandemic break.
Clay is Stephens’ preferred surface though, but the trouble is she is up against a player who likes it equally as much if not more. Tough one for the American.
Muguruza v Stephens Prediction & Tip
If fit, Muguruza will be the favourite here despite the obvious rustiness. It’s not as if Stephens has played a lot more than Muguruza and more vitally she hasn’t featured on clay either which sort of nullifies any disadvantage Muguruza might have. Looking at a Muguruza win here.
Tip: Muguruza to win: 8/11 (bet365)