Garbine Muguruza successfully navigated a tricky matchup against Alison Riske to move into the quarter finals of the AEGON Classic, winning 6-1 6-4 in just over an hour and a half. It is her first time to make this stage of the tournament in Birmingham after going winless in her previous two attempts.
It seems odd to suggest that a Wimbledon finalist would find it tough on the grass but that has often been the case for her, especially in the UK. She now has a 16-10 record on grass overall but went 1-2 last year and also won just one match going into Wimbledon before her shock final in 2015. Being dragged into a three setter with Elizaveta Kulichkova on Tuesday evening suggested that she was not yet over those struggles but she dismissed some of the fears with an accomplished display on Ann Jones Centre Court today.
Alison Riske has developed somewhat of a following at this tournament due to her impressive performances here including her breakthrough tournament in 2011 which earned her a Wimbledon wildcard. She was off her game today as Muguruza attacked from the off and while she held off on losing her first lengthy service game, it wouldn’t be long before the match got away from her – falling down 1-6 0-1*. She would break back and keep pace with the Spaniard but a second break for *3-2 would be decisive despite the American’s best efforts including a 0-30 as Muguruza served for the match.
The next round offers two tricky but different options for Muguruza with it either being Coco Vandeweghe or Johanna Konta in the next round. The Spaniard has negative head to heads with both players going 1-3 against Vandeweghe and 0-2 against Konta in main draw matches. Both those records include slam losses – Coco crushing her in the Australian Open quarter final this year while Muguruza was on the wrong end of a marathon loss to Konta at the US Open in 2015, going 3 hours and 23 minutes with the Brit in defeat. However, Muguruza isn’t too concerned that history is not in her favour. “Nobody really cares, unless it’s something very important, but if you lose to somebody, you are happy to play them again and get revenge, I guess.” she said.