Garbine Muguruza vs Elina Svitolina tips, predictions and live stream: Muguruza takes first set 6-4 before rain abandons play

Hannah Wilks in WTA 12 Aug 2017
  • Garbine Muguruza faces Elina Svitolina in the quarterfinals of the 2017 Rogers Cup
  • Muguruza vs Svitolina Rogers Cup tennis is live from Toronto on Saturday at 11.00am local time (4.00pm BST)
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Toronto at bet365 > live streaming > tennis
Garbine Muguruza (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Garbine Muguruza is halfway to the Rogers Cup semi-finals after taking the opening set 6-4 against Elina Svitolina before heavy rain forced play to be abandoned on Friday night.

Muguruza vs Svitolina Rogers Cup tennis resumes live from Toronto on Saturday at 11.00am local time (4.00pm BST). Watch and bet on tennis live from Toronto at bet365 > live streaming > tennis



Not much separated Garbine Muguruza and Elina Svitolina in the first set of their Rogers Cup semi-final showdown, but a break to love from the Wimbledon champion midway through was enough for her to edge it 6-4. Will the Spaniard finish the job as play resumes on Saturday morning, or can Svitolina produce a big fightback and reach her first final in Canada?

ORIGINAL PREVIEW

This is just Muguruza’s third time playing the Rogers Cup and she had never won back-to-back matches before, but the Spanish player has continued the strong form that saw her win her second Grand Slam title at Wimbledon a few weeks ago and is now looking to make her second semifinal in two weeks, having reached the final four at the Bank of the West Classic last week before losing to eventual champion Madison Keys.

North American hard courts have never been a particularly strong surface for Muguruza, but she was a semifinalist at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati last year and a slow hard court isn’t a bad fit for her game, although it doesn’t flatter it in the way clay or grass does. The fourth seed survived a tight first set against Kirsten Flipkens in her opening match to score a straight-sets victory 7-5, 6-2, and came out on top of a topsy-turvy match against another qualifier, Ashleigh Barty, on Thursday to secure her place in the quarterfinals.

Barty had beaten Muguruza in their only previous encounter, in the semifinals of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham just two weeks before Wimbledon, and Muguruza came out intent on revenge on Thursday, racing to a 6-0 first set. But Barty has some serious weapons and she rebounded, grabbing an early lead and then running away with the second set. The Australian even broke at the very beginning of the third set and might have been set for a big win if she could have consolidated, but Muguruza broke straight back, pushed the score to 3-3 and then broke Barty’s service twice in long tough games for a hard-fought 6-0, 3-6, 6-2 victory.
‘I just needed a balance of the first and second sets. I started very well, and then in the second set she started very well, so it was kind of a fight,’ Muguruza said afterwards. ‘I'm very happy to go through.’

The fearsome opening set notwithstanding, I don’t think Muguruza is playing her best tennis at the moment, but she is very confident and seems to be feeling fit and it’s yielding results. The question is whether it will be enough against the very in-form Elina Svitolina.

Rogers Cup 2017 live stream: WTA tennis live from Toronto

Elina Svitolina  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
World no. 5 Svitolina, ranked just one place below Muguruza, has already won two Premier-5 titles so far in 2017, triumphing at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The Ukrainian also won International-level titles in Chinese Taipei and Istanbul, made the semifinals in Brisbane, reached her second Grand Slam quarterfinal at Roland Garros and made the second week of Wimbledon before losing to Jelena Ostapenko in the round of 16. With all of that in mind, it’s unsurprising that Svitolina is playing such confident tennis – or that she surpassed 40 wins for the season this week at the Rogers Cup when she beat Daria Kasatkina 7-6(4), 6-4 on Tuesday.

After a rest day, Svitolina impressed even more with a scintillating victory over Venus Williams on Thursday, beating the American and former Rogers Cup runner-up 6-2, 6-1. Svitolina had lost to Williams in straight sets two years ago in Rome, but the huge improvements she has made to her game since then really shone as she built a 5-0 lead in the first set and never really looked back from there. Williams has much more power on her serve and groundstrokes available to her, but she couldn’t find a way to use it under the relentless pressure from Svitolina, who not only got everything back but put it in uncomfortable positions. The Ukrainian kept her unforced errors down to 10 while still playing aggressive tennis, and Williams could never find her feet. 
‘I was expecting that she would put pressure on my serve and that's the way she's playing,’ Svitolina said. ‘I was just trying to stay really focused and on the things that I can control. You know, to prepare my serve to be ready for next shot straight away, because she turns very quickly. 
‘I was very happy that I could really stay like that during all the match and didn't do so many unforced errors. It was quite solid performance for me.’

All of this is bad news for Muguruza, who plays the same sort of big-serving, first-strike tennis that Williams plays and will have viewed with dismay the way Svitolina dismantled the American’s game. 

Muguruza and Svitolina’s head-to-head is poised at 3-3, with Svitolina having a slight advantage 2-1 in hard-court meetings. Their last encounter came in Rome when Muguruza retired trailing 1-4, and the Spanish player won on hard courts in March at Indian Wells in three sets, but this is a real test for Muguruza, who will have to play dominant yet precise tennis, and be ready to commit to long, grueling rallies and working the point smartly rather than going for a winner too soon. Beating Barty was not great preparation for this match, but beating Williams was, and I can see Svitolina ousting the Wimbledon champion to make the semifinals. 


Muguruza vs Svitolina is scheduled on Centre Court in Toronto on Friday at 7pm local/12am BST. Watch and bet on the match at bet365 > live streaming > Garbine Muguruza vs Elina Svitolina


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Garbine Muguruza vs Elina Svitolina tips, predictions and live stream: Muguruza takes first set 6-4 before rain abandons play

After ousting Venus Williams, world no. 5 Elina Svitolina aims to upset Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza and make her third Premier-5 semifinal of 2017 at the Rogers Cup in Toronto: Read our tips, predictions and stream the match live online.

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