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Azarenka vs Muguruza WTA Monterrey Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Azarenka and Muguruza battle for Monterrey title

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 7 Apr 2019
  • Victoria Azarenka vs Garbine Muguruza is live from Monterrey on Sunday, 7 April from 4:30pm local time/ 10:30pm BST
  • Azarenka won their only previous meeting in Miami in 2016

Victoria Azarenka seeks her first singles title as a mother when she takes on defending champion, Garbine Muguruza in the Monterrey final on Sunday.

Azarenka is contesting her first singles final since April 2016, when she defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova in Miami to complete the Sunshine Double.

It was soon after that Miami success that Azarenka announced that she was pregnant, and she consequently missed the second half of the 2016 season. The Belarusian had her baby in December, but her attempted return to the tour was disrupted by an ugly custody dispute with her ex-lover, and several injury problems. Her stand-out performance since her initial return from maternity leave in June 2017 was a semi-final in Miami in 2018, while she made a couple of quarter finals in San Jose and Tokyo, also in 2018.

The two-time Grand Slam champion had a slow start to her 2019 season, with her best result in a 5-5 start to the season being a quarter-final run in Acapulco, but she's trumped that with a fine campaign in Monterrey, beating Miyu Kato, Zarina Diyas, four-time champion, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and former world No. 1, Angelique Kerber to reach the final.

After moving through the first three rounds without dropping a set, the world No. 67 was pushed to three by Kerber in the semi-finals, but she finished strongly, emerging with a 6-4 4-6 6-1 victory. Azarenka hit 35 winners and 32 unforced errors against Kerber, extending her dominance over the German to eight wins in nine matches with a very satisfactory performance.

“It's quite incredible. I'm very pleased with the way I played today. It was an important match to see how I could do under pressure against a top player," Azarenka said. "I haven't won many of those in the last couple of years, so it's good that I was able to turn it around and pick up my level, so I'm happy about that."

Standing between Azarenka and a 21st career title is fellow former world No. 1, and fellow two-time major winner, Garbine Muguruza, who is looking to complete a successful defence of her Monterrey title.

Muguruza arrived Monterrey on the back of a disappointing opening round exit in Miami, but the Spaniard has responded well in Mexico, beating Elena Gabriela-Ruse, Margarita Gasparyan, Kristina Mladenovic and Magdalena Rybarikova to reach the final for the second straight year. Her winning streak at the Abierto GNP Seguros now stands at nine matches, adding to victories over Renata Zarazua, Alison Riske, Ajla Tomljanovic, Ana Bogdan and Timea Babos in last year's title run.

That was also Muguruza's sole title last season, with the best of her other results being a final in Doha, and semi-finals at Roland Garros, Hong Kong and Zhuhai.

The 25-year-old, who began last season as the No. 2 player in the world, has been out of the top-ten since last August, and is currently ranked 19th in the world. 

She had not made a semi-final this season prior to Monterrey, with her previous best being quarter finals at Indian Wells and Hua Hin, and a fourth-round run at the Australian Open.

Muguruza has now moved into her 11th tour-level final, and will now attempt to claim her seventh WTA title later on Sunday. 

“I'm very happy to be here in the final. It's always a good feeling," Muguruza said after the match. "I feel really good right now. I played better in this match than the others this week and I'm feeling great physically".

Azarenka defeated Muguruza in their only previous meeting, a tight 7-6 7-6 result in Miami in 2016, and Sunday's final promises to be equally as tight.

Azarenka, to me, heads into this one as the slight favourite, as I believe she has played the better tennis, and looked the more convincing this week, especially in her victory over four-time champion, Pavlyuchenkova, and her fantastic finish against Kerber. She also plays with greater control, as against Muguruza, who can be rash, while the Belarusian generally defends better, and of course, is no slouch offensively.

Victoria Azarenka vs Garbine Muguruza is live from Monterrey on Sunday, 7 April from 4:30pm local time/ 10:30pm BST

*Geo-restrictions apply. Streams available to customers with an active balance 

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Azarenka vs Muguruza WTA Monterrey Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Azarenka and Muguruza battle for Monterrey title

Victoria Azarenka and Garbine Muguruza will meet in the Monterrey final on Sunday. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online

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