With Serena Williams still not ready for competitive action after the birth of her daughter, the women’s tournament remains wide open. Many of the top contenders are yet to break their slam duck which makes looking towards Garbine Muguruza as the champion a viable option. The World No.3 was a quarter-finalist last year but will be hoping to improve on that this time round.
She begins her tournament against French wildcard Jessika Ponchet. The Frenchwoman earned her wildcard after impressive play saw her move over 200 places up the rankings in 2017. She did not win a title on the ITF circuit in that time although her win over now World No. 44 Mihaela Burzanescu suggests she may still be better than her current 256 ranking. Retiring in her last match may be a concern but hopefully it was only a precaution and she should be ready to take to the court in top shape.
Similar questions are being asked over Muguruza, who retired in her first tournament back this year and gave a walkover the next week in Sydney after winning her first round match. “No, it’s just in Brisbane I had a very tough condition and match,” she said of the hip issues troubling her. “It doesn’t go in three days. But it’s getting better and better.”
“Honestly, I never feel I’m super perfect in any tournament. It’s true, when you have the Grand Slam, you even want to feel more ready. That’s what I’m going through. I’m trying to every day improve, try to recover.” she added. With the Spaniard remaining fairly cryptic on her true fitness levels, we can only wait and see how she looks when she returns to the court.
Prediction – Garbine Muguruza in straight sets