2021 WTA Finals Guadalajara: The encounter was a crucial one with both the players losing their first match respectively. The pressure was immense to keep the hopes alive for the semifinals.
The battle went for two hours and 10 minutes, which saw Gabrine Muguruza overcome Barbora Krejcikova from a set down, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. The victory moves Muguruza to 1-1 in the Teohuaticán group, while Krejcikova drops to 0-2.
It was their fourth meeting this season, Krejcikova coming in with a 2-1 advantage. However, Muguruza ended her two-match losing streak against Krejcikova.
Krejcikova was seen struggling with her range in the first four games but found the rhythm to take the opening set 6-2. Muguruza had only two winners with 18 unforced errors and breaking her opponent only once.
“I think I started the first set not playing great,” Muguruza said. “In the second set the crowd really helped me. I said before and I really mean it, because they cheer me up. I realized that, hey, I’m not leaving this court without changing things around at least or give Barbora the biggest fight.”
The tables however turned in the second set, when the Spaniard lead the set 4-1. Krijcikova bounced back with a break to serve at 3-4. The comeback looked inevitable but Muguruza refused to give away the set. Breaking her in the next game and serving out for 45 minutes to take the set 6-3 pushed the match to decider.
The Spaniard lifted her game in the second set to convert 71% of her first serve which included five aces. Also reduced her unforced errors to only 12 and blasted 10 winners.
It was Muguruza to break first after 1-1. The third game was long and ran for 12 minutes. Krejcikova managed to save five break points but suddenly the Spaniard came up with a powerful forehand winner into the open court.
It was then a matter of holding the service games, which Muguruza did it superbly without facing a breakpoint. When serving for the match at 5-4, 30-all, the Spaniard struck gold with her sixth ace and then a long return from Krejcikova handed her the match.
“I felt like in the first set I wasn’t doing enough,” Muguruza said. “Every time I served she would break me or I would not dominate. I feel like the serve is such a weapon here in the altitude. I had to do something different. I concentrated a lot on making those first serves at least so I could hold my serve, then try to break her. That was definitely a key today.”
Earlier in the day, Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit improved to 2-0 in group play and advanced to the semifinals with a win over Pliskova. On Sunday, Muguruza will face Kontaveit and Krejcikova takes on Pliskova.
Krejcikova: “I think she served pretty well. I know that she can just raise her level up. I mean, it’s really tough when she’s serving well, especially in here with the tough conditions. I’ve been just trying to find a way. I was just a little short at the end.
“But I think I did a really good match, I did a really good performance. I’m actually really happy that every single day I’m improving and I’m getting better. It’s a really, really good thing for me. Yeah, just today the match was really close. I was just the one that was unlucky. That’s it. That’s how I see the match.”
Muguruza on how she’s tapping into her fighting spirit at the WTA Finals: “I tell myself I’m in Mexico,” she said. “I love it here. This is the final push. I’m going to give everything I have left on every single match. No matter if it’s ugly the score or whatever. I always have a chance because I’ve played all of them, I’ve beaten some, lost to some.
“It’s really very open. You never feel like you don’t have a chance right now. So that’s where I get my fuel. I’m very excited to keep my options alive.”