Friday, March 8, 2019 - Garbine Muguruza plays Lauren Davis in the 2nd round of the BNP Paribas Open in Stadium 1 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. (Kathryn Riley/BNP Paribas Open)
Fans in Stadium 1 will be in for a treat tomorrow morning as Kiki Bertens and Garbiñe Muguruza go head-to-head in a clash of two of the game’s biggest bruisers for a spot in the BNP Paribas Open quarterfinals.
The head-to-head is 3-1 in favor of the Dutchwoman, with two-time Grand Slam champion Muguruza claiming their most recent clash in Sydney. Both players have flown under the radar so far in the southern Californian desert, even Muguruza whose second-round ‘win’ over Serena Williams was overshadowed by the tennis legend’s sudden retirement from the match.
“The fact that I have been able to beat her a few times, it gives me a lot of signals that I have a good level,” said Muguruza of her previous matches with Williams, after remarking that her retirement due to illness came as a surprise to her.
“I’m always excited to play against [her]. It’s always a good fight. I actually like it, so I’m not scared to play.”
Bertens, for her part, has produced two solid wins at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, a smooth win over Magda Linette followed by a tight triumph over Johanna Konta booked her ticket into the last 32. The quietly confident 27-year-old is coming off a career-best season in 2018, one that saw her claim three titles, including the Premier 5 event in Cincinnati – her biggest title to date.
There will be no secret tactics prepared between the two camps – the match will boil down to who can hit sharper, harder and more consistently. Both players are solid on all shots and, while they may lack in versatility, certainly are not short on tenacity.
On the line: a spot in the quarterfinals of the season’s first Premier Mandatory event, which would be Muguruza’s second (2017) and Bertens’ first following a previous-best showing in the third round back in 2016.
With former world No. 1 Muguruza looking to make a return to the Top 10 echelon of WTA tennis and current world No. 7 looking to consolidate hers, you definitely won’t want to miss this one.