Garbine Muguruza vs (9) Carla Suarez Navarro
Compatriots and doubles partners, Garbine Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro will go head to head for the second week in a row when they meet in the first round of the Qatar Total Open on Tuesday. The two were not originally drawn to play against each other, however Simona Halep’s late withdrawal from the event led to a restructure of the draw. Good friends, Garbine and Carla are fresh off reaching the doubles final together in Dubai but will have to put their friendship aside for this crucial first round clash.
Garbine’s start to the season has been excellent, reaching the quarter-finals in Sydney, the fourth round at the Australian Open (losing to Serena Williams in a close three set match) and then reaching the semi-finals in Dubai. Garbine would love to go a couple of steps further in Doha, she is certainly one of the biggest threats to win the title this week.
Garbine Muguruza arrives in Doha on the back of a very strong week in Dubai. The Spaniard reached the semi-finals before sucumbing to Karolina Pliskova in an extremley tight third set and also reached the final in the doubles alongside Carla Suarez Navarro. Garbine’s best performance of the week came in the third round, where she thumped Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4 6-2.The Spaniard is playing with a lot of confidence at the moment and her consistency is certainly starting to improve.
After an extremely disappointing first round exit at the Australian Open, Carla Suarez Navarro has turned her season around in the past couple of weeks. The Spaniard had a marvelous run in Antwerp, defeating the likes of Camila Giorgi and Karolina Pliskova on route to the final. However Carla was tragically forced to withdraw from the final after waking up with a sore neck, handing Andrea Petkovic the title. It was an extremely tough day for Carla, forced to withdraw from what would have been the biggest final of her career.
Carla made a spectacular recovery, heading straight to Dubai and reaching the quarter-finals. Carla showed no sign of any neck injury as she notched up a second consecutive victory over Camila Giorgi before stunning Petra Kvitova in the third round. Carla’s run was ended by Garbine in the quarter-finals, succumbing 7-6 3-6 3-6 in an awkward encounter.
Gabine’s 6-7 6-3 6-3 victory over Carla in the quarter-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Championships last week was the first meeting between the pair. It was a nervy match, certainly not played at the highest standard. Both players struggled to hold serve in the final set but it was Garbine’s aggressive play that eventually earned her a hard fought victory.
This should be another tight affair. These two know each other extremely well and therefore know the weaknesses they need to exploit in this matchup. Carla has recently had some surprisingly good results over more powerful opponents, however I suspect Garbine will prevail over Carla for a second consecutive week.
Prediction: Garbine Muguruza to defeat Suarez Navarro in 2 sets