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Muguruza vs Zhang WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Muguruza makes Zhuhai debut against Chinese wildcard, Zhang

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 30 Oct 2018
  • Garbine Muguruza vs Shuai Zhang is live from Zhuhai on Wednesday, 31 October from 7:00pm local time/ 11:00am GMT
  • Muguruza leads 2-1 on head-to-head
Garbine Muguruza. (Photo by FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Former world number one, Garbine Muguruza makes her debut at the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai on Wednesday when she takes on home wild card, Shuai Zhang in the Camellia Group.

It's a very clear indication of Muguruza's below par season that she is competing in Zhuhai, rather than at the WTA Finals in Singapore, where she had been a fixture in each of the past three seasons.

There have been periods this season when Muguruza played at a very high level, like at Roland Garros, where she reached the semi-finals, but she just wasn't able to find a sustained period of form, and crucially, fitness to stay with the 2018 pace-setters.

The season got off to the worst possible start, as she exited her first two tournaments via a retirement and a walkover respectively, and her lack of match practice and fitness told at the Australian Open, where she crashed to a second-round defeat to Su-Wei Hsieh.

Muguruza suddenly found form in the Middle East, reaching the final in Doha and the semis in Dubai, but she couldn't carry it over to the big Premier Mandatory tournaments in the United States, falling early at Indian Wells and Miami. She did end her stint in North America on a high, as she picked up her first title of the season in Monterrey.

Muguruza didn't do much pre-Roland Garros, but she turned on the style in Paris, and after dismantling Maria Sharapova in the quarter finals, she looked a very good bet to go all the way- until she ran into a similarly inspired Simona Halep in the semi-finals.

Then came her worst period of the season, when she went seven tournaments without making a WTA quarter final, winning back-to-back matches just once within that spell. Her ranking was particularly hurt by early defeats at Wimbledon and Cincinnati, as she had been the defending champion in both tournaments. Muguruza was also bothered by an arm injury in between the grass and hard court seasons, forcing her to sit out tournaments in San Jose and Montreal. A semi-final in Hong Kong in her penultimate event of the regular season steadied the ship somewhat, but she then crashed another early loss, this time to Dayana Yastremska in the Round of 16 in Luxembourg. 

The two-time Grand Slam champion is down at No. 17 on the rankings, and regardless of whatever happens in Zhuhai, she will finish a season outside the top ten for the first time since 2014.

Zhuhai provides an opportunity for Muguruza to end a disappointing season on a high, and she gets started on Wednesday against hard-hitting local favourite, Shuai Zhang. 


Zhang arrives Zhuhai on the back of a really strong finish to the season, during which she won 11 of her 15 matches on the Asian swing. The 29-year-old was a semi-finalist in Hiroshima and Hong Kong, made the quarter finals in Beijing, and got to the Round of 16 in Wuhan.

Zhang Shuai. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
2018 wasn't just about Asia for Zhang, as she had earlier made a semi-final in Prague, and quarter finals in Budapest, Acapulco and Nanchang.

Zhang, of course has had her fair share of early exits, and dipped to a season-low 46th in September, but her strong finish to the year has lifted her to 36th in the world, and she gets another chance to add more ranking points this week. The Chinese possesses a career-high ranking of 23, which she first attained in 2016, and touched again in 2017. Her highest ranking this year is 27th, which she reached in May after her Prague semi-final.

Zhang defeated Muguruza in their first meeting back in Doha in 2017, but Muguruza hit back to take the next two, the latest being a comprehensive 6-3 6-0 victory at the US Open a few months back.

That’s exactly what Muguruza can do when she is on- she just has not produced it often enough this year, and given the form Zhang showed in the closing weeks of the regular season, the hard-hitting Chinese is definitely in with a very big chance of taking down the former Wimbledon and French Open champion on Wednesday.

Garbine Muguruza vs Shuai Zhang is live from Zhuhai on Wednesday, 31 October 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 Zhang WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Muguruza makes Zhuhai debut against Chinese wildcard, Zhang

Garbine Muguruza takes on Chinese wildcard Shuai Zhang in Zhuhai on Wednesday. Will Muguruza make a winning debut at the WTA Elite Trophy? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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