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Belgium vs Spain Fed Cup tennis live streaming, preview and predictions: Muguruza leads Spain's bid for World Group return

Leye Aduloju in News 20 Apr 2019
  • Belgium host Spain in a World Group play-off tie in Kortrijk, live from 20-21 April
  • Garbine Muguruza spearheads the Spanish team
  • Belgium are without their top-ranked player, Elise Mertens
Garbine Muguruza

Former world No. 1, Garbine Muguruza leads the Spanish team as they take on Belgium in a Fed Cup World Group play-off tie, live from Kortrijk from 20-21 April.

While Spain are parading their top two, with Muguruza joined by former top-ten star, Carla Suarez Navarro, Belgium are missing their top player, Elise Mertens, leaving Kirsten Flipkens and Alison Van Uytvanck as the players to spearhead the country’s bid to maintain its World Group status.

Belgium vs Spain: Latest results

Check back here for the latest results when play begins in the Fed Cup World Group play-off between Belgium and Spain in Kortrijk from 20-21 April.

Belgium vs Spain Match Schedule

Day One: Saturday, 20 April

Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) vs Garbine Muguruza (ESP), 1:30pm local time/ 12:30pm BST
Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) vs Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP), to follow

Day Two: Sunday, 21 April

Alison van Uytvanck (BEL) vs Garbine Muguruza (ESP), 1:00pm local time/ 12:00pm BST
Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) vs Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP), to follow
Ysaline Bonaventure (BEL) / Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) vs Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov (ESP) / Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (ESP), to follow

Belgium vs Spain: Preview and Predictions

Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) vs Garbine Muguruza (ESP)

Former Wimbledon champion, Garbine Muguruza and former Wimbledon semi-finalist, Kirsten Flipkens open this play-off tie, as both ladies attempt to give their countries the early advantage.
Muguruza takes an impressive 9-1 record in Fed Cup singles rubbers into Saturday’s contest, with her only previous defeat in this competition coming against another former world No. 1, Karolina Pliskova in a quarter final tie in 2017. The Spaniard hasn’t always been a regular fixture in the Fed Cup, as this is her first appearance at the team event since last April, but she remains a major force in Spain’s push for a return to the World Group.

Muguruza should be pretty confident heading into this tie, as she comes in on the back of a successful title defence in Monterrey. The Spaniard famously peaked at No. 1 in the world in 2017- the season she won Wimbledon, but she has not been able to reproduce that level over the last year and a half, which is why she is currently down a 19th on the rankings. Apart from Monterrey, she has reached the quarter finals at Indian Wells and Hua Hin; and made the fourth round of the Australian Open in her other notable results in the 2019 season. Can she give Spain a crucial point when she plays Flipkens on Saturday?

Flipkens is a very experienced Fed Cup campaigner, but her record in this competition is not as imposing as Muguruza’s, as she has won just 12 of her 32 previous singles’ rubbers. This will be her first singles’ tie since she was beaten by Kristina Mladenovic in the 2017 quarter finals. She has since featured in a couple of doubles rubbers, but with the nation’s top-ranked player, Mertens missing from this one, the 33-year-old has been restored to singles’ duties. 

Flipkens has put together a 6-7 record this season, with her best efforts being quarter final performances in Hobart and Monterrey. The world No. 59 won just two other matches across Auckland, the Australian Open, St. Petersburg, Indian Wells and Miami. It has not been the greatest campaign, but in the heat of a Fed Cup battle, the former world No. 13 is very capable of producing a performance against Muguruza.

Muguruza has won four of their six previous matches, all four on hard courts, and in straight sets, while Flipkens’ two wins were both on grass courts. Saturday’s match will be played on an indoor hard court, which immediately shifts the advantage in Muguruza’s direction.

Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) vs Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP)

Depending on the outcome of the day’s earlier rubber, Alison Van Uytvanck and Carla Suarez Navarro will either be looking to strengthen their country’s positions, or draw them level in the tie.
Both ladies have got plenty of Fed Cup experience, and their records are not too dissimilar, with Suarez Navarro holding a 13-8 record in singles matches and Van Uytvanck boasting a 12-6 record. 

Baring one quarter final in Dubai, Suarez Navarro has struggled for wins on the WTA Tour this season, as she comes into this Fed Cup tie on a four-match losing streak having not won a match since that quarter final run in Dubai. The former world No. 6, now ranked 27th, has lost opening round matches at Indian Wells, Miami and Lugano. She also failed to cross the first hurdles in Brisbane and Sydney earlier in the year, and lost out in the second round at the Australian Open and Doha. The 30-year-old is playing her first Fed Cup match for Spain since last April’s World Group play-off against Paraguay.

Saturday’s opponent, Van Uytvanck has had one big result in Budapest, where she claimed her third tour-level title, but there has been nothing to shout about outside that, as she failed to win consecutive matches in the seven other tournaments she has competed in. Her most recent Fed Cup appearance was in February, when she lost in three sets to Carolina Garcia, as France defeated Belgium in the World Group quarter finals.

Van Uytvanck heads into this tie as Belgium’s No. 1, and with a match against Muguruza still to come, the home nation’s hopes are very reliant on the former French Open quarter finalist getting one over Suarez Navarro on Saturday.

Having said that, the head-to-head does not favour the Belgian, as Suarez Navarro won their two previous meeting, both on hard courts (Katowice 2014 and Monterrey 2017), and both in straight sets.

Given the history between the players on show, and the court surface, Spain look set to take a 2-0 lead, but you just never know with the Fed Cup!

Belgium vs Spain Tie Information

Location: Kortrijk, Belgium

Venue: Lange Munte Kortrijk

Surface: Indoor hard

Belgium: Alison Van Uytvanck, Kirsten Flipkens, Ysaline Bonaventure, Yanina Wickmayer, Johan van Herck (captain)

Spain: Garbine Muguruza, Carla Suarez Navarro, Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov, Georgina Garcia-Perez, Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (captain)

Hosts, Belgium are looking to retain their spot in the world Group after losing to France in the quarter finals in February, while five-time champions, Spain are attempting to return to the elite division.

The Spaniards have the luxury of being able to call on their top two players, Garbine Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro, both former top-ten stars who are now ranked 19th and 27th respectively. Neither Muguruza nor Suarez Navarro were present as Spain defeated Japan in the World Group II tie in February to earn a shot at a return to the World Group. The task of guiding the Spaniards to the play-offs was left to Sara Sorribes Tormo, Georgina Garcia Perez and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, with the trio fighting through a tough test in Kita-Kyushu to eke out the win in the deciding doubles rubber, sending Spain to the World Group play-offs for the first time since they suffered relegation to World Group II in 2017.

Belgium are missing their highest-ranked player, Elise Mertens, leaving world No. 52, Alison Van Uytvanck, and the 59th ranked Kirsten Flipkens to shoulder the task of keeping the hosts in the World Group. The Belgians find themselves in this position after suffering a disappointing defeat to France in the World Group quarter finals in February. The tie was over after three rubbers, as Mertens lost to Alize Cornet and Caroline Garcia after van Uytvanck had fallen to Garcia in the opening rubber. Can they overcome the Spaniards this weekend?

Spain do not only have the higher-ranked players, they also have the lead in the head-to-head between the two nations, edging the match-up 4-3 heading into this weekend’s contest.

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Belgium vs Spain Fed Cup tennis live streaming, preview and predictions: Muguruza leads Spain's bid for World Group return

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