“Good Match For a First Round”: Garbine Muguruza Predicts Tough Mutua Madrid Open 2021 Against Sloane Stephens

Published 04/28/2021, 1:33 AM EDT
Mar 29, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Garbi–e Muguruza of Spain hits a forehand against Bianca Andreescu of Canada (not pictured) in the fourth round in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


Two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza has shared her thoughts on her opening-round opponent at the prestigious Mutua Madrid Open. The Spanish-Venezuelan player will open her Madrid campaign against American tennis star Sloane Stephens.

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The claycourt tournament, which draws the very best in the men’s and women’s fields, will open on April 30 and end on May 9. 

To a question on how she rates her rival going into the opening-round clash, the current World No. 13 claimed that she was unaware that she’s been drawn to play Stephens. Muguruza said that it would be a good contest, adding that the American prefers playing on soil and will be tough to beat.

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Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 14, 2021 Spain’s Garbine Muguruza in action during her fourth round match against Japan’s Naomi Osaka REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Garbine Muguruza says Sloane Stephens is good on clay and will make for a tough opening-round clash at Madrid

The 27-year-old added that they had found each other on the opposite ends of a tennis court on a few occasions and she never had it easy against Sloane. She isn’t too far off the mark as the two are currently tied 2-2 in four head-to-head clashes.

“I didn’t know I was playing with her. It’s a good match for a first round. She’s a player who likes the land and we’ve already played enough times,” Muguruza said.

(Quotes have been translated with Google Translate)

Interestingly, the Spaniard and the 28-year-old American, who is currently ranked 51st in singles, have met twice on a claycourt with both winning one match apiece. 

Their meetings on soil came in Rome last year and at the 2019 French Open. Stephens upset Muguruza 6-4, 6-3 at Roland-Garros, and the Spaniard had her revenge in Rome, winning 6-3, 6-3.

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The Spaniard has had an encouraging season so far, reaching two Tour finals and winning one of them.

She reached the fourth round of this year’s Australian Open and was a set to the good against current World No. 2 Naomi Osaka before she lost her way and went down in three sets. She followed up with a runners-up finish at Qatar and her first Tour title of the year in Dubai.

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Stephens, on the other hand, fell early at the Australian Open and her best performance on Tour this year was a quarter-final appearance at the claycourt event at Charleston, United States.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

825 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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