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Muguruza vs Keys WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Keys and Muguruza meet in big-hitting Zhuhai semi-final

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 3 Nov 2018
  • Garbine Muguruza vs Madison Keys is live from Zhuhai on Saturday, 3 November from 7:00pm local time/ 11:00am GMT
  • Keys leads 2-1 in WTA main draw matches
Garbine Muguruza. (Photo by -/AFP/Getty Images)

Garbine Muguruza and Madison Keys go head-to-head on Saturday as they battle for a spot in the final of the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai. 

Both former top-ten players, Muguruza and Keys have played very well in spells this year, with both making Grand Slam semi-finals, but they never quite found the consistency required to maintain a top-ten ranking. While Muguruza is seeking her third final of the season, Keys is yet to make a final, and should she lose on Saturday, it would be the first year since 2013 that she failed to reach a WTA final.

Muguruza contested her finals in Doha and Monterrey, losing the former and winning the latter, while her other stand-out result for the year was a superb semi-final run at Roland Garros, where she dismantled Maria Sharapova, before being dismantled by Simona Halep. She also made semi-finals in Dubai and Hong Kong in her only other significant contributions to the season. There has been nothing of note elsewhere, except perhaps, her sharp drop down the rankings, which is a consequence of huge amount of points lost in the second half of the year, specifically at Wimbledon and Cincinnati, where she fell very early as the defending champion. Muguruza fell from 3rd to 7th after Wimbledon, and she was down at 12th in the week after Cincinnati.

Injuries also contributed to her relatively ordinary season. In between Wimbledon and Cincinnati, she suffered an arm injury, which ruled her out of tournaments in San Jose and Montreal. By her high standards, this has been a disappointing season, but she can still finish on a high by going all the way in Zhuhai.

She has had to fight hard this week, overcoming Shuai Zhang in three sets in her opening match, before outlasting Anastasija Sevastova, also in three sets in her second match. In a winner takes all contest against Sevastova, Muguruza saved three match points in the final set before pulling off a 6-7 6-2 7-6 victory.

"These matches are the ones that really count. It's long, it's difficult, you have match points against you, you don’t lose your courage, you don’t lose your enthusiasm. And it worked today," the former world number one said after her victory over Sevastova.

After finding a way around the variety and touch off Sevastova’s racket, she is confronted with a completely different challenge on Saturday as she faces the raw power of Madison Keys.

Madison Keys. (Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)
Keys has compiled some very good tournaments this year, quite a few of them on the biggest stages in the sport- she reached Grand Slam semi-finals at Roland Garros and the US Open, as well quarter finals at the Australian Open and Cincinnati, but she also threw in her fair share of early losses in a very inconsistent campaign. She failed to cross the opening rounds Brisbane, Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart and Madrid.

Keys also had her problems with injuries, just like Muguruza, she missed the start of the North American hard-court swing with a wrist injury, withdrawing from San Jose and Montreal. Wrist complaints have been quite frequent with Keys over the last few seasons. She missed the first quarter of 2017 after undergoing surgery at the end of 2016, while the same problem surfaced later in the year, forcing her to end the season prematurely. Thankfully, her latest problem wasn’t serious enough to keep her out for too long.

Keys’ form leading up to Zhuhai wasn’t the greatest- she was 2-2 in post US Open tournaments in Wuhan and Beijing, but she opened her WTA Elite Trophy campaign with a dominant 6-2 6-4 victory over Daria Kasatkina, before falling to Qiang Wang in three sets in her second match. Despite the defeat, the American had done enough to pinch the semi-final ticket.

Keys boasts a 2-1 record against Muguruza in main draw matches, but Muguruza won their most recent encounter on her way to the Cincinnati title last year, saving three match points in the Round of 16 victory.

Muguruza and Keys are very aggressive players, but Keys’ greater weight of shot has often given her the edge in this match up. The American is also the more potent server, while she does not have a very obvious weaker wing, unlike Muguruza, whose forehand can sometimes let her down. Both players have also shown a tendency to drift away mentally, hence, beyond the serves and the groundstrokes, Saturday’s match may come down to a mental battle of ‘who wants it more?’ in what will be the final match of a long hard season for one of these two ladies.

Garbine Muguruza vs Madison Keys is live from Zhuhai on Saturday, 3 November from 7:00pm local time/ 11:00am GMT

*Geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify 

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Muguruza vs Keys WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Keys and Muguruza meet in big-hitting Zhuhai semi-final

Madison Keys and Garbine Muguruza meet in the semi-finals of the WTA Elite Trophy on Saturday. Who will proceed to the final? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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