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Bertens vs Muguruza tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Can Muguruza capitalize on opportunity offered by Serena’s retirement?

Hannah Wilks in WTA Tour 12 Mar 2019
  • Kiki Bertens faces Garbine Muguruza in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open
  • Bertens vs Muguruza is live from Indian Wells on Tuesday at 11am local/6pm GMT
Kiki Bertens (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Seventh seed Kiki Bertens takes on Garbine Muguruza as the Dutch player tries to reach the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open for the first time.

Garbine Muguruza got her first win over a top-10 opponent in a year when Serena Williams retired against her in the previous round – can she back that up by beating seventh seed Kiki Bertens as the two square off in the round of 16 at Indian Wells?

Bertens has never before won back-to-back main draw matches at the BNP Paribas Open – indeed, she had only ever won two main-draw matches at Indian Wells in five main-draw appearances before this year. 

Bertens celebrates victory over Johanna Konta (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)
But then, before this year we wouldn’t necessarily have expected her to, because it’s only really in the past 12 months that Bertens – a French Open semifinalist in 2016, and always something of a danger on natural surfaces – has evolved into not just a top-10 player but one who’s a threat on all surfaces. 

This time last year, Bertens drew the giant short straw that was having to face the unseeded Serena Williams in the second round, and promptly lost. But she went on to win the biggest title of her career in Charleston, reach the final of Madrid, make the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, win her first hard-court titles in Seoul and Cincinnati and qualify for the WTA Finals Singapore where she reached the semifinals.

Ending the year at world no. 9, Bertens’s 2018 has raised expectations high for the Dutch player in 2019 – but so far, she’s not doing too badly. A semifinalist in Sydney in January, Bertens was bitterly disappointed to lose in the second round of the Australian Open to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (a tough draw) but bounced back by winning her next six matches to claim the third hard-court title of her career in St Petersburg and make the quarterfinals of Doha before losing to eventual champion Elise Mertens.

Bertens recorded a routine win over Magda Linette to start her BNP Paribas Open campaign, but things were a lot more complicated and arduous against Johanna Konta in the third round on Sunday. Bertens took an early break lead, but dropped it in a fluster of unforced errors, and neither woman gave up anything on serve in the latter half of the first set. In the ensuing tie-break, momentum flowed this way and that, with Bertens up a mini-break twice but unable to capitalize until on the 22nd point, Konta put a backhand into the net. 

In the second set, Konta’s drop shots became increasingly predictable and it kept getting her into trouble, but neither woman could break for some time until Bertens eventually pressured a double fault out of the British player on her fourth break point of the ninth game. Even then, Bertens had to save a break point as she served out the match, 7-6(10), 6-4.

Bertens said afterwards that she didn’t necessarily think either player had played that well, but I think she was selling herself short; it was a high-quality clash, with both players taking it to the other and plenty of winners coming from all areas of the court, and winning it will surely stand the Dutch player in good stead as she moves on at Indian Wells, trying to make the quarterfinals for the first time on Tuesday.

Garbine Muguruza stands in her way. The 20th-seeded Spanish player is trying to reach the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open for the second time after doing so in 2017.

Garbine Muguruza (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)
Muguruza’s travails and her slide down the rankings, from being the world no. 1 in 2017 in the wake of winning her second Grand Slam title at Wimbledon to her current ranking of world no. 20 and having gone almost a year without lifting a trophy (and then a modest International-level one in Monterrey), are well-documented, so it should be more cause for celebration that the Spaniard just got her first top-10 win since beating Caroline Garcia in Doha last February.

But it was hardly a resounding victory as Muguruza, having beaten Lauren Davis in straight sets in the second round, progressed to the fourth after Serena Williams retired trailing 3-6, 0-1. It was a strange match, which saw Williams establish an early lead with some brilliant ball-striking – but she wasn’t moving well, and once Muguruza found her own feet, she met with little opposition as a clearly out-of-sorts Williams barely moved for the ball. Williams was visited by the trainer and doctor after losing the first set 3-6, and after looking visibly dizzy for one more game, retired with what was later announced to be viral illness.

‘It's really a weird feeling, because I don't feel like I won the match point and, “Well done, you know, good match,”’ Muguruza said. ‘It was just like, “Man, we'll play next time.” 

‘I think I played well one set. I'm going to take the positive side of that. Now I have more chances to face top opponents. That's what I'm looking for.’

Muguruza has lost all three matches she has played against top-10 opponents in the past year – most recently to Karolina Pliskova at the Australian Open – but she does have one thing going for her coming into the Bertens clash: Although she trails 1-3 in the head-to-head with Bertens, the match she won was the only one they have played since 2012 and therefore the only one that really feels relevant, a 6-3, 7-6(6) victory in Sydney last January.

‘It’s going to be a tough match,’ Bertens said. 

‘Konta today, she can play really aggressive, and I think with Muguruza it’s the same. So I have to serve well, go for my shots myself again where I can, and hopefully play a little better than today.’

I think Muguruza would have to play very well to beat Bertens on Tuesday. The Dutch player can get herself into a muddle and make too many mistakes, but she’s such a great athlete and formidable off both wings, with her inside-out forehand surely going to be particularly effective at exposing Muguruza’s footwork to her own forehand side. Muguruza’s confidence has been so brittle of late, her forehand so apt to break down under pressure, that I can’t see her winning long rallies with Bertens; she will need to play superb first-strike tennis – something that she’s more than capable of doing, but all too rarely of late. Seventh-seeded Bertens perhaps has the edge coming into this clash.

Bertens vs Muguruza BNP Paribas Open tennis is live from Indian Wells on Tuesday at 11am local/6pm GMT

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Bertens vs Muguruza tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Can Muguruza capitalize on opportunity offered by Serena’s retirement?

Kiki Bertens vs Garbine Muguruza live streaming, preview and predictions for the BNP Paribas Open fourth-round match on Tuesday 12 March: Seventh seed Bertens must beat Muguruza, who made the fourth round after Serena Williams retired, to make a first Indian Wells quarterfinal

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