A scintillating comeback from No.5 seed Garbine Muguruza has helped her stay in the hunt for advancing out of the group stage. The Spaniard came from a set down to register a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over No.2 seed Barbora Krejcikova at the Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara. The victory moves Muguruza to 1-1 in the Teotihuacan group, while Krejcikova drops to 0-2. Muguruza and Krejcikova had both lost their opening matches. Hence, there was immense pressure on the duo ahead of this match. It was a must-win scenario for Muguruza, who would have been eliminated from contention with a loss. However, the come-from-behind victory helps both her and Krejcikova, along with No.3 seed Karolina Pliskova have a chance at reaching the semifinals based on Sunday’s final round-robin matches.
It is to be noted that earlier Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit improved her record to 2-0 in group play and advanced to the semifinals with a win over Pliskova. On Sunday, Muguruza will face Kontaveit and Krejcikova takes on Pliskova. “I think I started the first set not playing great,” Muguruza said. “In the second set the crowd really helped me. I said before and I really mean it, because they cheer me up. I realized that, hey, I’m not leaving this court without changing things around at least or give Barbora the biggest fight.”
Krejcikova struggled with her range in the first four games, but soon she ran away with the opening set 6-2 after 36 minutes. She converted 65% of her first serves, along with seven winners and 15 unforced errors. She was also 3-for-3 on break points. Muguruza, however, regrouped herself and came back strongly in the second set. She built a 4-1 lead before Krejcikova was able to get back on serve at 3-4. However, Muguruza broke her in the next game and served out the 45-minute set to win it 6-3.
After exchanging holds to begin the decider, the duo was involved in a lengthy game that saw Krejcikova wipe away five break points. However, the Spaniard eventually converted with a perfectly built point. Muguruza then managed her service games well to finish off a 2-hour, 10-minute effort.
“I felt like in the first set I wasn’t doing enough,” Muguruza said. “Every time I served she would break me or I would not dominate. I feel like the serve is such a weapon here in the altitude. I had to do something different. I concentrated a lot on making those first serves at least so I could hold my serve, then try to break her. That was definitely a key today.”
Meanwhile, Krejcikova said: “I think she served pretty well. I know that she can just raise her level up. I mean, it’s really tough when she’s serving well, especially in here with the tough conditions. I’ve been just trying to find a way. I was just a little short at the end.”
“But I think I did a really good match, I did a really good performance. I’m actually really happy that every single day I’m improving and I’m getting better. It’s a really, really good thing for me. Yeah, just today the match was really close. I was just the one that was unlucky. That’s it. That’s how I see the match.”