Garbine Muguruza vs Daria Kasatkina WTA Madrid tennis preview, predictions and tips: Muguruza and Kasatkina set for another epic in Madrid

Andrew Hendrie in WTA 9 May 2018
  • Garbine Muguruza vs Daria Kasatkina is live from Madrid at 8.00pm local time on Wednesday (7.00pm BST)
  • The pair have split their previous two meetings, saving match points in both
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Madrid at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)
Garbine Muguruza (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Into the Mutua Madrid third round for the first time in her career, reigning Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza aims to advance even further when she faces Indian Wells runner-up Daria Kasatkina in the Round of 16 on Wednesday night.

Watch and bet on Muguruza vs Kasatkina live from Madrid at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify). Their R16 clash begins at 8.00pm local time on Wednesday (7.00pm BST).

Third seed Garbine Muguruza takes on 14th seed Daria Kasatkina for a spot in the Mutua Madrid Open quarter-finals on Wednesday night inside the Caja Magica. Muguruza has endured a torrid time in Madrid since debuting at the tournament in 2012, but she’s advanced into the third round of the Premier Mandatory event for the first time this week - can the powerful Spaniard make it even deeper as the week progresses? She will have to be on top of her game on Wednesday night against Kasatkina, who is enjoying a resurgent week in the Spanish capital after struggling on tour since reaching the BNP Paribas Open final in March. Muguruza and Kasatkina take to court at 8.00pm local time on Wednesday (7.00pm BST).

Always under intense pressure and spotlight whenever she’s playing at the Mutua Madrid Open, Muguruza declared after her first round victory over Peng Shuai that she was trying to adopt a more relaxed mindset and approach to the tournament this year - and so far, whatever the Spaniard is doing has paid off. The reigning Wimbledon champion toppled Peng in straight sets but had to go to another level in her second round showdown with Donna Vekic on Tuesday night.

Vekic came firing out of the blocks and swiftly opening up a double break lead - and the Croatian didn’t let up as her big serving and penetrating groundstrokes propelled her to a dominant 6-2 advantage. Muguruza realised she would have to produce her best tennis in order to stage a comeback, and that’s exactly what she did as the third seed dug out a tight second set before finishing strongly to complete a 2-6 6-4 6-1 victory.

“I felt that she was playing very good,” Muguruza said after the match. “It didn't feel like a second round or something...  In front of me I had [practically] a Top 10 player, that’s how well she was playing. Everything was working out for her.
“I just stayed composed... And I'm proud that I was able to be calm, to go for my opportunities in the second set and in the third set. I just felt all the time I was very close but didn't take the lead. So I just thought, I'm going to just keep doing it and eventually it’s going to turn things around. And it happened. Then that gave me a lot of confidence to go to the third set and escape.”

There’s not too many occasions in which a second round win would be branded as a milestone triumph for Muguruza, but with the Spaniard making it past the second round of Madrid for the first time in five previous main draw appearances, that’s exactly what Tuesday night’s victory was. But, at the same time, when you look back at the opponents Muguruza has lost to in the Spanish capital (French Open champions Svetlana Kuznetsova and Li Na, Roland Garros runner-up Sam Stosur and semi-finalist Timea Bacsinszky), and her record perhaps isn’t has bad as first thought.


It’s been a typically up-and-down season for Muguruza so far in 2018. She won just two matches during the Australian summer, including a second round loss in Melbourne to Su-Wei Hsieh, but then made the final in Doha and the semi-finals in Dubai. Another disappointing Sunshine Swing in Indian Wells and Miami followed as Muguruza won just one match combined at the two Premier Mandatory tournaments, but she did pick things up before departing back to Europe, winning her sixth career title in Monterrey with a victory over Timea Babos in the final.

Daria Kasatkina (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)
Daria Kasatkina was also coming into the Mutua Madrid Open in slightly indifferent form, but the young Russian has returned to some of her best form inside the Caja Magica so far this week, overcoming a spirited challenge from the underrated Qiang Wang 7-5 7-6(6) in her opening round before crushing two-time Madrid quarter-finalist Sorana Cirstea 6-3 6-1 to secure her place in the Round of 16 for the first time.

Kasatkina finished 2017 in very strong fashion, reaching the fourth round of the U.S. Open (where she beat French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko), making the Premier Mandatory China Open quarter-finals in Beijing, the Round of 16 in Wuhan (beating Simona Halep) and finishing runner-up at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow to the season ranked at No. 24. Despite a poor Australian summer in which she posted a 1-3 record, Kasatkina cut her 2017 year-end ranking in half with her performances in February and the first half of March,  defeating recently-crowned Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki on her way to the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy semi-finals before conquering Johanna Konta, Elena Vesnina and Madrid rival Muguruza on her way to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship final, losing to Elina Svitolina. More massive scalps followed in Indian Wells as Kasatkina took out U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, Wozniacki once more, Angelique Kerber and Venus Williams to reach her first Premier Mandatory final before going down to Naomi Osaka in the final.

Kasatkina climbed to No. 12 in the world on the back of that run, but the Russian hasn’t been able to continue that momentum and has sort of stagnated over the last six weeks, losing in the opening round of Miami, Stuttgart and Prague to Sofia Kenin, Magdalena Rybarikova and Jasmine Paolini respectively, while her only two wins before the Madrid opening round since Indian Wells came when she made the quarter-finals of Charleston (where she was defending champion), bowing out to Julia Goerges. But with two impressive victories so far in Madrid, could Kasatkina be about to go on another deep run at a Premier Mandatory event in 2018?

Kasatkina and Muguruza’s last two meetings have been absolute epics. Muguruza prevailed in a quality Brisbane second round clash in 2017, saving a match point in a 7-5 3-6 7-6(7) victory, while Kasatkina returned the favour earlier this season in the Dubai semi-finals, saving three match points as she came away with a 3-6 7-6(11) 6-1 triumph. If Wednesday night’s showdown is anywhere close in terms of quality to those two matches, we will be in for a treat. It’s an enjoyable contrast of styles to watch, with Muguruza’s brute power coming up against Kasatkina’s resolute defence, while the Russian has added more weaponry to her baseline game, making her more dangerous in baseline exchanges. It’s such a tough match to call - if Muguruza wins, she could easily go on and take home the title with one of her brilliant out-of-nowhere runs, but Kasatkina has proven ability of beating the very best players (including all four reigning Grand Slam champions since last September). I’m going to lean with Muguruza in another three-set thriller, but as we’ve seen with both players saving match points in their last two encounters, this one could really go either way.



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Garbine Muguruza vs Daria Kasatkina WTA Madrid tennis preview, predictions and tips: Muguruza and Kasatkina set for another epic in Madrid

Into the Mutua Madrid third round for the first time in her career, reigning Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza aims to advance even further when she faces Indian Wells runner-up Daria Kasatkina in the Round of 16 on Wednesday night.

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