WTA Aegon Classic, 🇬🇧 Birmingham SF Preview
SF #2: (6) 🇪🇸 Garbine Muguruza vs 🇦🇺 Ashleigh Barty
Saturday’ second semi-final from the Aegon Classic in Birmingham sees the sixth seeded Garbine Muguruza take on this week’s shock semi-finalist: Ashleigh Barty. Garbine Muguruza will be aiming to reach her first final on a grass court since Wimbledon 2015 whilst Ashleigh Barty will be playing to reach her first ever final at a premier level event. In bizarre circumstances, both Muguruza and Barty secured their place in the semi-finals via a retirement, so both will enter this clash fresh, a first time meetings between the pair looms as a fascinating encounter.
Garbine Muguruza has made the ideal start to the grass court swing after a challenging clay court season. The Spaniard started her Birmingham campaign with a scrappy three set win over Elizaveta Kulichkova before trashing Alison Riske in straight sets. Muguruza fell behind CoCo Vandeweghe in their quarter-final clash but the American’s level deteriorated due to injury and would ultimately retire as the match was levelled at one set apiece.
Ashleigh Barty continues to improve in season 2017, the Aussie continues to improve her ranking and is now just one win away from being on the verge of cracking into the top 50 for the first time in her career. Barty started the week with a hard-fought straight set win over Marketa Vondrousova before requiring three sets to eliminate the eighth seeded Barbora Strycova. Barty secured her spot in the semi-finals thanks to Camila Giorgi retiring late in the opening set of their quarter-final clash.
This will be the first career meeting between Muguruza and Barty, it will be interesting to see how these two match-up against each other on this surface. Muguruza is clearly the more accomplished player but this is the ideal surface for Barty to upset the Spaniard. Despite this, I think Muguruza will come through this one, Muguruza is far more experienced at this level. Barty’s solid game may play into the hands of Muguruza who has more to her game. Barty’s serve should also sit up nicely for Muguruza, it seems like this could be a good match-up for Muguruza.