No.5 seed, Garbiñe Muguruza kept her hopes alive of advancing out of the group stage Friday night with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over No.2 seed, Barbora Krejcikova at the WTA Finals in Guadalajara. The victory moves Muguruza to 1-1 in the Teotihuacán group, while Krejcikova drops to 0-2.
Muguruza and Krejcikova, who both lost their opening matches, came into the duel under pressure. It was a must-win scenario for Muguruza, who would have been eliminated from contention with a loss. But with her three-set win, both she and Krejcikova, along with No.3 seed Karolina Pliskova, have a chance to reach the semifinals based on Sunday’s final round robin matches.
“Well that was a very tough match. It was amazing. The crowd helped me so much during the second set to come back. I didn’t start the match very well, so in the second set I had to push myself and fight with whatever tennis I had today, and I was playing so much better in the third set”, Muguruza said in her on-court interview.
There was a clear improvement from Muguruza throughout the match. Her game went away in the first set, producing 2 winners to 18 unforced errors, but once that set was out of the way, things shifted as the Spaniard was almost even the rest of the match.
Garbine Muguruza: “I tell myself I’m in Mexico. I love it here. I’m going to give everything I have left on every single match”
In their fourth meeting of the season, Muguruza snapped a two-match losing streak against Krejcikova, who won in Cincinnati and the US Open. The No. 5-ranked Muguruza, who’s back in the Top 5 for the first time since 2018, was asked how it feels to be back at this stage again with the best of the best.
“It was a tough journey, and sometimes there are ups and downs, but I work hard. I have an excellent team that helped me to be back in the top”, she said.
Muguruza on how she’s tapping into her fighting spirit at the WTA Finals: “I tell myself I’m in Mexico. I love it here. This is the final push. I’m going to give everything I have left on every single match. No matter if it’s ugly the score or whatever. I always have a chance because I’ve played all of them, I’ve beaten some, lost to some.
“It’s really very open. You never feel like you don’t have a chance right now. So that’s where I get my fuel. I’m very excited to keep my options alive.”
Muguruza’s win over the No.3 ranked Krejcikova was her 13th career win over a Top 5 player and her first win over someone in the Top 3 since she defeated a No. 3 ranked Simona Halep in the semifinals of the 2020 Australian Open.
Perhaps more relevantly to this week, it keeps her in contention for a spot in the semifinals of the WTA Finals. Anett Kontaveit already secured her spot in the final four with her 6-4, 6-0 win over Pliskova earlier in the day. On Sunday, Muguruza will play Kontaveit and Krejcikova will play Pliskova in the last wave of round-robin matches from the Teotihuacan Group, and one of Krejcikova, Pliskova and Muguruza will join Kontaveit in the final four, depending on the results.