Guadalaraja was supposed to be the catalyst for 2022, now Garbiñe Muguruza leaves Madrid still searching for her best tennis and at risk of falling out of the top ten

For Garbiñe Muguruza the Madrid Open is a home tournament but it has never been one which she has felt at home at, a 3-6 0-6 loss to Anhelina Kalinina on Sunday ended her tournament where she has won 6 times in 8 appearances and having never made it past the first round.

The loss in Madrid highlights the bigger problem for Muguruza as she heads to Rome having won just 6 of her 12 matches in 2022 in what was anticipated to a be a year that she kicks on following her season ending finale win in Guadalajara.

It was a season that Muguruza described as one of her best winning three titles, the Spaniard didn’t do well at the majors but finished with her highest ranking (3) and highest number of wins (41) since 2017 when she finished the year as No.2 in the world with 47 wins.

I like Muguruza and the way she played between 2015 and 2017 at the height of her success was exceptional. She was hard hitting down the middle of the court, one of her best performances I will always remember was her 6-2 6-2 win over Serena at the French Open. She hit the ball relentlessly well down the middle of the court searching for the short ball from Serena.

However, I don’t think Garbine has moved with tennis. I always say this is a sport where you cannot sit still and you’re game has to adapt and with where she plays around the baseline she doesn’t play a game that is consistent enough to be at the top of the women’s tennis and I worry how this season will unfold.

To finish the season as No.3 and to be No.9 going into May is a concern. I only see it going one way at the moment and it won’t be long until she is out of the top ten and a place at the WTA Finals looks unlikely with Muguruza down at 33 in the race and would need a big run somewhere to take a leap.

The performance against Kalinina wasn’t good, it was a million miles away from the tennis she produced to win the WTA Finals at the end of 2021 and this wasn’t in the script. I hoped to see a big push this season but were stuck in a loop that just needs a good couple of wins. The positive from the next few weeks is after Rome she has no points to defend at Roland Garros where she won in 2016.

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