For the third time at a Grand Slam event, Serena Williams and Garbine Muguruza will meet in the fourth round of the 2015 Australian Open in a rubber match to determine who will take a lead in their budding rivalry. With the current head-to-head record split at 1-1, this has the potential to be a riveting match-up on Sunday.
After facing minimal obstacles en route to the third round in Melbourne, Serena Williams found herself a set down against Elina Svitolina and forced to raise her level of play, which she obliged. The American quickly took the lead in the following set, and lost just two games in her three-set win over the Ukrainian. Serena hit 45 winners, 9 aces and hit 61% of her first service points to finish the match in 1 hour and 38 minutes.
Her opponent, Garbine Muguruza, was also forced to play a three-set match to reach the fourth round. She eventually got past Timea Bacsinszky 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 to set up the encounter with Williams.
“Just another tough match,” Muguruza said of her upcoming opponent. “I already played against her two times. Obviously in the last 16 match you have to play against amazing players. So just another match, same game, same concentration. Nothing new.”
Williams and Muguruza have split their past two encounters on the tour – both at Grand Slam events. Their first meeting was two years ago in the second round of this very event, which Williams won in dominant fashion. However, at last year’s French Open, the Spaniard avenged the loss with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over the former champion in the tournament’s second round. While that is a promising sign, Williams is certainly the better hard court player, and unless she plays at a level well below her usual standard, she should find her way into the quarter-final stage in Melbourne.
Prediction: Serena Williams in Three Sets