Muguruza vs Mladenovic 04.06.17

French Open, Roland Garros, France, Clay Courts, WTA

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Good morning, and welcome to what is going to be a jam-packed Sunday of tennis at the French Open, Roland Garros, due to yesterday afternoon’s wash-out. We are going to be picking the statistical bones out of the mouth-watering match up between the Spanish world number 5, Garbine Muguruza and the home favourite, French world number 14, Kristina Mladenovic.

These two players have met once before, back in 2015 on the clay courts of Marrakech, Morocco. It was Mladenovic who prevailed on that occasion in two incredibly tight sets, 7-6 7-6. Mladenovic has really come of age since then and Muguruza is looking back to her best this week, so i’m expecting another close and very entertaining match today.

So let’s begin by breaking down how both of these players reached the Fourth Round; Muguruza beat Francesca Schiavone in Round 1, 6-2 6-4, and followed this up in Round 2 with a good win against the dangerous Anett Kontaveit. Muguruza dropped the first set 6-7, but came storming back in the next two to take them 6-4 6-2. It was more straight forward for the Spaniard in Round 3, dispatching Yulia Putintseva in straight sets, 7-5 6-2. Mladenovic opened her campaign by beating the American Jennifer Brady, Mlad also had to come from a set down having dropped the first 3-6, however spurred on by the French crowd she dug deep and won the next two 6-3 9-7, in a little over three hours. In Round 2 she defeated a hapless Sara Errani 6-2 6-3, before another marathon match against another American, this time in the form of Shelby Rogers. On this occasion, Mladenovic was able to take the first set 7-5, before losing the second 4-6, before coming through in the third 8-6, in a set that had three breaks of serve in the opening four games. Needless to say Mladenovic will be the more physically exhausted of the two players, having been on court for over seven hours already this week, compared to Muguruza’s five. Mlad’s burning desire to win is so admirable though, and she will have the support of the whole of France behind her today, will that be enough to inspire her to win through what is bound to be another gruelling battle today… we shall see….

Let’s start breaking the key numbers down now and look at the serving stats for both players; Muguruza this week has won 63% of her service points and held serve 77% of the time. These compare to her recent clay court mean numbers of 58% service points won and 73% service hold. As mentioned earlier, there are some real signs that Muguruza is getting back to her best this week, we can see that part of that resurgence has been down to her improved numbers on serve, the Spaniard will need to keep these numbers high today against the aggressive returns of Mladenovic. Mladenovic herself this week has won 60% of her service points and held serve 75% of the time. These compare to her recent clay court mean numbers of 63% service points won and 78% service hold. Mladenovic also needs to serve well today to fend off the aggressive returns from the Spaniard.

Talking of which, let’s look at the return of serve stats; This week Muguruza has won 49% of her return points, 65% of her break points and opponents have held serve against her 50% of the time. These compare to her recent clay court mean numbers of 45% return points won, 50% break points won and opponents holding 62% of the time against her. Mladenovic this week has won 44% of her return points, 47% of her break points and opponents have held 63% of the time against her. These compare to her recent clay court mean numbers of 43% return points won, 46% break points won and 68% opponents hold. Muguruza has one of the best returns of serve on Tour and these numbers back that up, if she can keep that break point conversion % high today, I personally think Mladenovic could be in trouble.

There are going to be a lot of fireworks off the ground today with both players taking the ball on off either wing. Don’t expect to see too many rallies over five or six shots, as these ladies are two of the most aggressive and impressive shot-makers in the women’s game. If Muguruza serves well I think she can take this, i’ve seen enough from her this week to get the feeling she could go deep into week two. Mladenovic will need to improve on her performances so far this week in order to stand a chance. Expect a close match though, three sets wouldn’t be a total surprise.

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