In a battle of French Open champions, can Garbine Muguruza get her first win on clay over Simona Halep and…
In a battle of French Open champions, can Garbine Muguruza get her first win on clay over Simona Halep and reach the Rome final to boot?
Simona Halep vs Garbine Muguruza | WTA Rome SF | 20/9/2020, 11am BSTMuguruza to win 7/4 Bet Now! New Customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org.
Azarenka vs Muguruza is live from Rome on Saturday 19 September, 2pm local/1pm BST
World no. 2 Simona Halep is out to underline her status as favourite for the French Open by reaching the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia for the third time, and has yet to drop a set in Rome, reaching the semifinals when Yulia Putintseva retired trailing 2-6, 0-2.
Now on a 12-match winning streak, Halep faces the last woman to beat her, Garbine Muguruza, in a mesmerising semifinal clash. Muguruza leads the head-to-head but has never beaten Halep on a clay court.
Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.
How to watch Halep vs Muguruza live
WTA Rome matches including Simona Halep vs Garbine Muguruza are streamed live alongside odds and in-play betting at bet365.
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Halep vs Muguruza: Head-to-head
Garbine Muguruza leads the head-to-head with Simona Halep 4-2, and won their most recent encounter 7-6(8), 7-5 in the semifinals of the Australian Open.
But Halep has won the only two matches the two have played on clay, beating Muguruza in Stuttgart in 2015 and 6-1, 6-4 at the French Open in 2018.
Halep vs Muguruza: Preview
It’s crazy to think that the last match Simona Halep lost was her semifinal clash with Garbine Muguruza at the Australian Open: A gruelling affair which lasted over two hours on a scorching hot day and saw Muguruza save four set points in the first set, then break Halep as she served to level the match, winning the last three games for a 7-6(8), 7-5 win.
Denied a place in the Australian Open final, Halep bounced back by winning her 20th and 21st career titles in Dubai and Prague on either side of the six-month shutdown enforced on tennis by the global pandemic. In addition to having won 12 straight matches, Halep has won her last 13 sets, beating Jasmine Paolini and Dayana Yastremska in straight sets in Rome before progressing to the semifinals when Yulia Putintseva retired trailing 2-6, 0-2, having seen her bright start to the match quickly disintegrate under the pressure of Halep’s assured shotmaking.
Halep went out to practice afterwards to try to make up for the limited time on court, which leaves her in an ambiguous position coming into the semifinals: On the one hand she has a definite energy advantage, but on the other, she’ll face a stiff rise in the level of competition she’s been up against when she takes the court against Muguruza.
In this clash of French Open and Wimbledon champions, Muguruza definitely arrives battle-hardened. Although she went out of the US Open early to the tricky Tsvetana Pironkova, the Spaniard has had a tough draw in Rome, beating Sloane Stephens and 2019 finalist Johanna Konta in straight sets and having to battle through three-set clashes with Coco Gauff and Victoria Azarenka.
Beating US Open finalist Azarenka has looked like a nearly impossible task of late, and the Belarusian came into the match having won 15 of her last 16 matches, but Muguruza proved herself equal to the challenge in a gruelling physical battle. Neither player had the momentum for long in an evenly-matched contest, with Muguruza leading 3-1 in the final set before nearly falling behind 3-5. While both players played attacking tennis whenever they were able, Muguruza defended brilliantly – something that’s a sign of her playing at or near her best – and was able to win, crucially, more points behind her second serve. That, and one more break of serve than Azarenka could muster, decided the 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 contest.
It only gets tougher, again, for Muguruza, though, as she tries to reach her first Rome final: A well-rested and seemingly fit Halep. Muguruza edged past Halep at the Australian Open with the aid of a slightly bigger serve, slightly more explosive shotmaking and, most importantly, attacking tennis at the biggest moments; those were all the elements which got Muguruza past Azarenka in the quarterfinals.