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Muguruza vs Rybarikova tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Defending champion Muguruza within reach of returning to Monterrey final

Hannah Wilks in WTA Tour 6 Apr 2019
  • Defending champion Garbine Muguruza faces Magdalena Rybarikova in the semifinals of the Abierto GNP Seguros
  • Muguruza vs Rybarikova is live from Monterrey on Saturday at 2pm local/9pm BST 
Garbine Muguruza

Garbine Muguruza has dropped just one game in each of the last four sets she’s played against Magdalena Rybarikova, her semifinal opponent at the Abierto GNP Seguros in Monterrey.

Defending champion Garbine Muguruza is one win away from returning to the Abierto GNP Seguros final – can she avoid an upset at the hands of the tricky Magdalena Rybarikova?

Garbine Muguruza
Muguruza has won just the one title since ascending to the world no. 1 ranking in 2017, and that was at the International-level hard-court event in Monterrey in 2018. Winning WTA Tour titles has never been Muguruza’s strong suit – she has only six career titles overall, and a third of them are at majors – but 2018 was a particularly poor season for the Spaniard as she slipped down from world no. 3 to world no. 18, going 35-20 and failing to defend her Wimbledon title, Monterrey her only title and the only other highlights a runner-up finish in Doha to Petra Kvitova and semifinal appearances at the French Open, Dubai, Hong Kong and Zhuhai, where she ended the year by getting just two games from Wang Qiang.

Still sticking with Samuel Sumyk as her coach despite the often uncomfortable on-court coaching sessions and the undeniable decline in her results and ranking, Muguruza is 14-5 so far in 2019 and trying to prevent herself from slipping out of the top 20 for the first time since June 2015. She made the fourth round of the Australian Open, but lost 3-6, 1-6 to Karolina Pliskova;  won back-to-back matches in Hua Hin and Dubai and reached the quarterfinals of Indian Wells in a run that included her first top-10 victory (over Kiki Bertens) for over a year and looked like being a major confidence-booster until she was totally demolished 0-6, 1-6 by Bianca Andreescu.

Defeated by Monica Niculescu in her opening match in Miami, Muguruza hasn’t exactly stormed through the draw in Monterrey: She came through quite a tight match against lucky loser and world no. 230 Elena Gabriela Ruse, and then had an extended battle with Margarita Gasparyan before winning 6-3, 6-7(1), 6-2. 

Up against Kristina Mladenovic, against whom she has quite a history, in the quarterfinals, Muguruza was on track for a dominant victory at 6-1, 5-1 before completely losing her way, ending up needing to break back as the Frenchwoman served for the second set at 6-5 and eventually winning 6-1, 7-6(5).

‘Being calm, having good tactics and being competitive [was the key today],’ Muguruza said.

‘It's a great position to come here defending the title. It's a good feeling, pressure at the same time, but I'm in the semifinals, so it's going well.’

Muguruza is up against a woman whose tumble down the rankings has been even more dramatic than hers as she takes on Magdalena Rybarikova on Saturday.

Magdalena Rybarikova (PA Sport)
Rybarikova was ranked a career-high world no. 17 in March 2018 after a brilliant 2017 season which saw her climb from world no. 453, to which her ranking had dropped after a seven-month absence with wrist and knee injuries, to world no. 22 after a fantastic run to the semifinals at Wimbledon was followed by a runner-up finish in Linz. Rybarikova went on to reach the round of 16 at the Australian Open in 2018, the quarterfinals in Monterrey and made the eighth WTA Tour final of her career in Birmingham, finishing runner-up to Petra Kvitova. But she was unable to defend her Wimbledon semifinal points, losing in the first round to Sorana Cirstea, and only won two singles matches in eight events for the rest of the season, losing her last six matches of 2018.

Rybarikova then lost her first three matches of 2019, including both of the ones she played in January and Indian Wells, before getting her first win of the year in Miami over Nathalia Vikhlyantseva, losing to Julia Goerges.

In Monterrey, however, where Rybarikova has made the quarterfinals on three of her five subsequent appearances, she’s been playing well, although she hasn’t faced the toughest opposition: After dropping a set to Misaki Doi in the first round, Rybarikova beat Stefanie Voegele in the second in three sets and then Sachia Vickery, who she lost to in last year’s quarterfinals in Monterrey, 6-4, 6-4.

This will be the seventh meeting between Muguruza and Rybarikova, with the Spaniard leading the head-to-head 4-2 and 3-0 on hard courts. Rybarikova’s last win over Muguruza came in Birmingham in 2015, while Muguruza won their last two encounters by identical scorelines of 6-1, 6-1 at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2017. Muguruza certainly has the tools to go backhand to backhand with Rybarikova, who’s always struggled to expose the Spaniard’s weaker forehand, and although she’s been making heavy weather of lower-ranked opponents in Monterrey, she’s been a bit more tested than the Slovakian. It’s frankly about time Muguruza made another final and this looks like it should be her moment to do so.  

Muguruza vs Rybarikova Abierto GNP Seguros tennis is live from Monterrey on Saturday at 2pm local/9pm BST

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Muguruza vs Rybarikova tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Defending champion Muguruza within reach of returning to Monterrey final

Garbine Muguruza vs Magdalena Rybarikova live streaming, preview and predictions for the WTA Monterrey semifinal match on Saturday 6 April: Rybarikova got just four games total in her last two matches against Muguruza and has never beaten the Spaniard on hard courts

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