WTA Abu Dhabi 2021: Garbine Muguruza vs Kristina Mladenovic Preview, Head-To-Head & Prediction

Published 01/05/2021, 12:14 PM EST
Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain returns the ball during her Women’s Singles first round match against Nao Hibino of Japan on Day Two of the 2020 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)


The 2021 WTA season kicks off at the Abu Dhabi Open, with some blockbuster clashes lined up for the fans. Two-time grand slam champion Garbine Muguruza will play against Kristina Mladenovic in the first round.

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Muguruza made a splendid start to the 2020 season, as finished as the runner-up of the Australian Open final. However, she could not replicate her powerful performances after the tour’s resumption in September last year. The Spaniard’s only notable results were a quarterfinal in Doha and a semifinal at the 2020 Italian Open.

Tennis – WTA Premier 5 – Italian Open -d Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – Spain’s Garbine Muguruza in action during her second round match against Cori Gauff of the U.S. Pool via REUTERS/Clive Brunskill

On the other hand, Mladenovic had a disappointing run in the singles event last season. Despite winning two Grand Slam titles in doubles, Mladenovic had a poor 6-8 win-loss record in singles in the 2020 season.

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Garbine Muguruza vs Kristina Mladenovic head-to-head

The duo has faced thrice against each other, with Mladenovic having a 2-1 edge in their rivalry. They last faced off in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Monterrey Open, which Muguruza won in straight sets.

Meanwhile, Mladenovic came on the winning side when the duo clashed in the Round-of-16 at the 2017 Roland Garros and the 2015 Marrakech.

Muguruza vs Mladenovic prediction

Despite the head-to-head record in Mladenovic’s favor, Muguruza will be the favorite going into the match. Seeded No.5, Muguruza’s superior 2020 season and her powerful baseline game will pose a tough challenge for her opponent.

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Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – France’s Kristina Mladenovic in action during her first round match against Germany’s Laura Siegemund REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

The Spaniard will aim to go deeper into the tournament to achieve her top form before the start of the 2021 Australian Open.  To topple her former World No.1, Mladenovic will have to attack the net and play aggressively from the baseline.

Mladenovic will have to hit a high percentage of first serves inside to push Muguruza at the back of the court. However, the odds are stacked in favor of Muguruza, and she will most likely begin her season with a victory.

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Prediction: Garbine Muguruza to win in three sets

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Kshitij Tayal

394 articles

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

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