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Muguruza vs Lisicki tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Wimbledon champion faces Wimbledon finalist in Hua Hin

Hannah Wilks in WTA Tour 28 Jan 2019
  • Garbine Muguruza faces Sabine Lisicki in the first round of the Toyota Thailand Open
  • Muguruza vs Lisicki is live from Hua Hin on Tuesday at 8pm local/1pm GMT
Garbine Muguruza (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The 2017 Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza and the 2013 Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki face off in the first round of the Toyota Thailand Open in Hua Hin on Tuesday. 

Garbine Muguruza brings her search for form to Hua Hin and the Toyota Thailand Open as she takes on Sabine Lisicki, whose career and ranking have been decimated by injuries, in the first round of the WTA International event.

Muguruza went out in the fourth round of the Australian Open  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Muguruza, champion at the French Open in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2017, started 2018 as world no. 2 but ended it down to world no. 18 after toiling through a difficult season. The Spaniard, who admitted that she had struggled with pressure and expectation, did make the semifinals of the French Open where she defeated Maria Sharapova before losing 1-6, 4-6 to eventual champion Simona Halep, so the fact that she dropped outside the top 15 despite a Grand Slam semifinal should be a good indication of just how mediocre her results were. 

Muguruza’s sole title for 2018 was an International-level one in Monterrey and apart from that she made semifinals or better at just four other events: Doha in February, where she finished runner-up to Petra Kvitova (points she will shortly have to defend); Dubai the following week; and Hong Kong and Zhuhai at the end of the season where she lost both times to Wang Qiang, getting just two games in her last match of the year.

The Spaniard has already got her ranking moving in the right direction in 2019, however, by reaching the round of 16 at the Australian Open – under difficult circumstances, too: After beating Zheng Saisai in straight sets, Muguruza’s second-round clash with former semifinalist Johanna Konta began after midnight and ended up finishing past 3am. It was a high-quality battle in which Muguruza impressed, and she backed it up with a scrappier but hard-fought win over Timea Bacsinszky before going down 3-6, 1-6 to Karolina Pliskova.

Muguruza’s one-sided defeat to Pliskova was a disappointment but it’s a bad match-up for her – the Czech has a commanding lead in the head-to-head – and overall her Australian Open run could be considered a positive start to the year. It has at least elevated her three places to world no. 15. 

World no. 199 Sabine Lisicki knows all about rises and falls in the rankings – and the rollercoaster of hers over the years make Muguruza look extraordinarily consistent.

Sabine Lisicki (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)
The big-serving German had her initial breakthrough in 2009 when she defeated Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams on her way to the Charleston title and went on to make the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, beating Wozniacki (again) and Svetlana Kuznetsova. This inaugurated the pattern for Lisicki’s career whereby her greatest successes would always come at Wimbledon, while she struggled to reproduce that level of performance consistently or anywhere else. She also developed a habit of beating the player who had just won the French Open, in this case Kuznetsova, at Wimbledon: After only playing 19 matches in 2010 due to injury (another pattern) she did so again when she defeated Li Na in the second round of Wimbledon 2011, going on to reach the semifinals. A quarterfinal followed in 2012 (this time beating Maria Sharapova, who had just won Roland Garros) and in 2013, the biggest run of Lisicki’s career: Wins over Samantha Stosur, Serena Williams (who had just won Roland Garros) and Agnieszka Radwanska to reach the final, where she lost to Marion Bartoli.

It was the high-water mark of Lisicki’s career. She made the quarterfinals the following year, but dropped out of the top 100 in 2016 and only played 14 matches in 2017, 26 in 2018, her ranking declining to world no. 262 as a result.

Lisicki ended 2018 on a good note, however, taking advantage of a wildcard into the WTA 125k in Taipei to reach the final, a run which got her back inside the top 200. 

The German, now 29, must be worried that the best years of her career are behind her, thanks to a litany of ankle, shoulder and back injuries, and a defeat in the first-round of qualifying for the Australian Open to world no. 374 Isabelle Wallace won’t have helped. But the thing about Lisicki, as all those Wimbledon runs have attested, is that when you have the kind of weapons she does, it doesn’t really matter where she’s ranked – she will always be a threat, particularly against higher-ranked players when she can swing freely and feel like the underdog.

Lisicki has an immense serve – until recently she held the record for the biggest serve in women’s tennis – and backs it up with very pacey, powerful flat groundstrokes; very little margin for error in her game, and there are plenty of errors, but devastating power nonetheless. She has the tools to expose Muguruza’s movement to her forehand side and her weaker forehand more generally – but she hasn’t played a top-10 player in over three years, her injuries have taken their toll on her serve and her own movement isn’t great. Game-wise, this is the kind of match-up in which Muguruza generally excels, and if she’s in Hua Hin to win some matches and not merely collect an appearance fee, she should be able to show Lisicki that the game has moved on while the German’s been struggling to keep up.

Muguruza vs Lisicki Toyota Thailand Open tennis is live from Hua Hin on Tuesday at 8pm local/1pm GMT

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Muguruza vs Lisicki tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Wimbledon champion faces Wimbledon finalist in Hua Hin

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