Wimbledon 2017 Semi-Final Preview: Garbiñe Muguruza vs Magdalena Rybarikova

 

By Jake Davies

  • Garbiñe Muguruza [14] vs Magdalena Rybarikova
LONDON, UK – 2015 finalist Garbiñe Muguruza takes on this year’s fairy-tale runner Magdalena Rybarikova for a spot in the final.

 

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Garbiñe Muguruza [14] vs Magdalena Rybarikova H2H: Tied at 2-2

Garbiñe Muguruza’s tennis has always involved a certain amount of risk-tasking and a high level of aggressive shotmaking from the back of the court, but with Spanish Fed Cup captain and 1994 Wimbledon winner Conchita Martinez in her camp, we are seeing a much more composed person on and off the court and it has been evident throughout the first five stages of this year’s Wimbledon.

The key to Muguruza’s success is being able to serve a high percentage of first serves and dominating behind her groundstrokes, particularly with the deadly backhand down the line shot that served her so well in her sole Grand Slam triumph. The challenging part for Muguruza has been possessing the confidence to put away her opportunities in the forecourt and also handling the new life as a star of the game, which is something many have struggled with in the past.

At this tournament Muguruza is really focusing and applying herself to bringing out the good aspects of her game rather than focusing on the negatives. She next faces Magdalena Rybarikova in the semi-finals, who is a very awkward customer on a tennis court.

In Muguruza’s quarter-final victory over two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, she struggled at times with Kuznetsova’s backhand slice. Some would argue that Rybarikova will apply her backhand slice regularly and it is one of her go-to shots particularly on a grass court.

Rybarikova is playing much freer, too. At one point she thought her tennis career was finished after a seven month absence because of wrist and knee problems, but now she is shining on tennis’ biggest stage in her first ever Grand Slam semi-final.

This is a compelling match-up. Rybarikova won their only previous match on grass in Birmingham 2015, but that was moments before Muguruza finally found her form on an unfamiliar and peculiar surface to her. The Slovakian, who will now rise from No.483 to at least No.33 in the space of four months, has beaten some hard-hitting players already this week, with impressive scalps of Karolina Pliskova and Coco Vandeweghe.

Most of the rallies will be decided by the Spaniard and it is all about Muguruza’s game management. Rybarikova’s job is to make the match as uncomfortable as she can for the Spaniard, but I think Muguruza is feeling incredibly confident and is buying into the words of advice of Martinez and should come through and reach her second Wimbledon final.

Prediction: Muguruza in three sets.

 

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