It will be the first of many meetings between Belinda Bencic and Garbine Muguruza on the tour over the next 10 years or so if things go to plan with a place in the semi-finals of Tokyo up for grabs in their first ever meeting. Muguruza’s path to the quarter finals has been straight forward receiving a BYE in round one and then a 6-3 6-4 win against Barbora Strycova in 1 hour 45 minutes. For Belinda Bencic her first round match was a bit of a stroll in the park as she saw off Yi-Fan Xu 6-0 6-0 in just 43 minutes winning 52 of the 70 points in the match but in the last round had to battle hard against Sam Stosur from a set down to win in three to set up a quarter final meeting with Muguruza.
Both Bencic and Muguruza have had tournaments this year when they have been the headline maker. Muguruza of course got to the Wimbledon final but since then has only won two matches and has struggled with form and recently split from her long term coach. Belinda had probably the tournament of the decade in Toronto beating Wozniacki, Bouchard, Ivanovic, Lisicki, Serena and Simona Halep on her way to winning her second title of her career and the year.
Comparing the two player’s games I’d have to say Muguruza’s is stronger and is more powerful from the back of the court however an issue at time with Muguruza is composure and concentration and because she plays a game close to the side lines it does leave a bigger margin for error as you have to be precise and it’s a fine line between producing winners or unforced errors and confidence in this style plays a big part as if you are on a bad run you may be a bit hesitant to go for these shots.
Bencic is only 18 years old and is ranked at 15 in the world right now. Throughout the year she has played consistently well and continues to improve as the year goes on. I think her serve and movement has gradually improved throughout the year. Bencic has a good record of 37/19 this year on the tour which is very good, she shows great composure on the court and I really wouldn’t be surprised to see her finish the year ranked inside the top 10 in the world and hopefully she can secure a place at the WTA Finals and is currently at 11 in the race just 300 points behind 8th place Carla Suarez Navarro who is also in action this week.
I think this is a bigger match for Muguruza than Bencic. Muguruza has only beaten one top 40 player since defeating Radwanska in the semi-finals of Wimbledon and that was Barbora Strycova in round one ranked 40 in the world. I think the key for this one is confidence and composure and right now one player who is confident and composed on the tennis court is Belinda Bencic which is why I think she will advance to the semi-finals in Tokyo.