Fifth seeded Garbine Muguruza will kick-start her 2021 WTA Abu Dhabi campaign against Kristina Mladenovic on Thursday, January 7, with the match likely to begin at around 2:30 pm local time (10 am BST or 4 am Eastern Time). Get the live streaming options of this Garbine Muguruza v Kristina Mladenovic match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Garbine Muguruza v Kristina Mladenovic Head to Head
Interestingly, it’s Mladenovic who holds the advantage in their head to head with the Frenchwoman having won two of their three matches.
This includes a win at the Marrakech Open in 2015 and another at the French Open in 2017, before Muguruza finally got one back in Monterrey in 2019 on its hard courts.
Muguruza’s Solid Comeback in 2020 Didn’t Yield Titles
A winner of two Grand Slams with the second of those having come at the 2017 Wimbledon, Muguruza’s form fell away after that. So drastic was her change in fortunes that Muguruza went from being ranked second in the world at the end of the 2017 season to finishing 2019 with a major struggle and a ranking of 36th.
It was in 2020, a year that was so curtailed and difficult for players to move up the rankings because of the change in the system, where Muguruza saw an upswing.
It began with a semifinal appearance at the Shenzhen Open and then saw her defeat the likes of Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens and Simona Halep at the Australian Open to make it to the final there. A shock turnaround alright, Muguruza went down to Sofia Kenin in that match but held on to her form as she kept making deep runs in tournaments without really winning any titles.
Post the pandemic break, Muguruza featured in only three tournaments, reaching the semifinal of the Italian Open as her best performance. While early losses at the French Open and US Open might have hurt, it was the kind of season where one could be forgiven for those defeats given how different athletes dealt with the pandemic differently.
Mladenovic Struggles in Singles Overshadow Doubles Showing
While most players were struggling to make it count in 2020, Mladenovic took full control in doubles tennis with two Grand Slam wins – one at the Australian Open before the pandemic break and the other at the French Open as the defending champion after the break.
She might have made it three in three had it not been for the US Open rules which forced her to withdraw from the tournament because of the rules around Covid-19.
Unfortunately for Mladenovic though, her form in singles was in a sharp contrast to how she went in doubles. Other than a couple of finals at the lower circuit, Mladenovic won a grand total of four main draw singles matches in the entire year.
And coming into her opener against a top player like Muguruza, it seems highly unlikely a turnaround is to be expected.
Muguruza v Mladenovic Prediction and Tip
Muguruza is 1/3 to win this and we are looking at a straight-set victory with bet365 offering 5/6 for the two-time singles Grand Slam winner to take the match in two.
Tip: Muguruza to win in straight sets: 5/6 (bet365)