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Sevastova vs Muguruza tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Winner to progress to the semifinals in Zhuhai

Hannah Wilks in WTA Tour 1 Nov 2018
  • Anastasija Sevastova takes on Garbine Muguruza at the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai
  • Sevastova vs Muguruza is live from Zhuhai on Friday at 4.30pm local/8.30am GMT
Anastasija Sevastova (Photo by Kevin Lee/Getty Images)

Anastasija Sevastova and Garbine Muguruza face off in a winner-takes-all match at the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai on Friday.

In a match that will decide which player proceeds to the semifinals and which player heads off on holiday with their season over, Anastasija Sevastova takes on Garbine Muguruza at the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai. 

Both players won their match against Zhang Shuai of China, the third player in the Camellia Group, leaving the Latvian and the Spaniard evenly matched heading into the final day of round-robin play. 

Whichever one can defeat the other will progress to Saturday’s Zhuhai semifinals, while the loser will head off on holiday having played the final match of their 2018 season.

Anastasija Sevastova(Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)
Should it be Sevastova who loses on Friday, the Latvian will nevertheless feel good about her season as she finishes it at a career-high ranking of world no. 11 and with the very real prospect of breaking into the top 10 soon. That’s thanks to having recorded the most successful season of her career. Having unretired in 2015, after growing disillusioned with the game and hanging up her racquets in 2013, Sevastova has gone from strength to strength but her biggest accomplishments came this year: She made the biggest final of her career at the Premier Mandatory-level China Open in Beijing, finishing runner-up to Caroline Wozniacki, and after reaching the quarterfinals at the US Open for the past two years, broke through into the semifinals this year after ending Sloane Stephens’s title defense. 

Sevastova also won Budapest, finished runner-up in Mallorca and made Premier-level semifinals in Brisbane, Charleston and Moscow, so the Latvian with the fine line in beautiful drop shots continues to make herself at home in the higher levels of the sport with, one imagines, only more success to come.

A semifinalist in Zhuhai last year, when she lost to eventual champion Julia Goerges, Sevastova had to wait until Thursday to get her campaign underway in 2018 but wasted no time in swiftly bagelling Zhang Shuai 6-0 before having to fight a lot harder in the second set, eventually edging Zhang in a lengthy tie-break for a 6-0, 7-6(10) victory.

Sevastova didn’t lose a single point on serve in the first set, but when she had the opportunity to serve for the match at 5-4 in the second after a flurry of breaks, couldn’t seal the deal. The world no. 11 rebounded in fine fashion, however, saving a total of six set points before finally closing out the match. 

Even though things got complicated in the second set for Sevastova, she still had an easier time getting her first Zhuhai victory under her belt than Garbine Muguruza. 

The Spaniard is more accustomed to ending her season in Singapore, having qualified for the top-tier season-ending championships for the past three years – but then, in each of the past three years she has either won a Grand Slam or reached a Grand Slam final, and such an achievement has been out of her reach during a difficult 2018 season. Muguruza’s only real highlights were making the semifinals of the French Open, winning the International-level title in Monterrey and a runner-up finish to Petra Kvitova in Doha, and she slid out of the top 10 after failing to defend her Cincinnati title in August – quite the downwards slide for a player who had been ranked world no. 1 less than a year previously.

Garbine Muguruza  (Photo by Zhe Ji/Getty Images)
With a 34-19 record in 2018, Muguruza is in quite desperate need of wins and confidence and came to Zhuhai in search of a positive note to end her season on – something which looked like it was going to elude her when she lost the first set against Zhang on Wednesday, 3-6. But Muguruza lifted her game in the second set and although it was never particularly easy or smooth, clawed her way to a three-set win, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, which leaves her with the tantalizing possibility of making the semifinals.

‘I didn't start very well, didn't find my rhythm,’ Muguruza said. ‘I was giving her a lot of free points. And she was playing very well since the beginning.

‘After the first set, I thought it doesn't matter really now. I have another set. Doesn't matter how I felt. It was a good challenge to look for something more and try to change it, you know, to have the chance to win the match at the end.’

One thing that is in Muguruza’s favour coming into this climactic clash with Sevastova is that she has a winning head-to-head against the Latvian, although there’s not much in it. They have played three times, with Sevastova winning at the US Open in 2016 but Muguruza claiming victory in straight sets in Tokyo in 2016 and at the Australian Open in 2017. 

That last meeting was nearly two years ago now, however, and Sevastova is currently playing the best tennis of her career. Muguruza is decidedly not, and her current issues with unforced errors and ineffective forehands will play right into the crafty hands of Sevastova.

‘We played four times, with this one actually, in two years, so it's quite a lot,’ Muguruza said of Sevastova. ‘I saw she played very well in the Asian Swing and I'm not surprised. I feel like every time I play with her, it's a big fight. It's never an easy match. Her intensity is very fast.

‘I think she played very well today. Every time I see her in the draw. I know it's going to be a good match and good points because we're both aggressive players. It's a good match-up and it makes it interesting.’

Muguruza vs Sevastova WTA Elite Trophy round-robin tennis is live from Zhuhai on Friday at 4.30pm local/8.30am GMT

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

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Sevastova vs Muguruza tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Winner to progress to the semifinals in Zhuhai

Anastasija Sevastova vs Garbine Muguruza live streaming, preview and predictions for the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai round-robin match on Friday 2 November: Can Muguruza get one more win to keep her season alive?

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