French Open 2016: Garbine Muguruza vs. Samantha Stosur Semifinal Prediction

Garbine Muguruza vs. Samantha Stosur

This match should feature some big shots.  Will the winner be who can play better defense or who can keep from being put on the defensive?  Many of us got our first look at Muguruza’s power when she upset defending champion Serena Williams at Roland Garros 2014.  Since then she has pushed Serena in Melbourne and at Wimbledon, but is not (yet?) among the Grand Slam champions on tour.  Samantha Stosur has had multiple second week appearances at the French Open as her serve and forehand make excellent use of the surface.  I think Stosur’s ability to kick her serve in theory makes better use of the features of clay, but clay also typically favors younger players when other factors are more or less equal.

I am of two minds on this match.  I think Muguruza can hit with Stosur and that neutralizes one of the Aussie’s biggest advantages against most of the tour.  On the other hand, Stosur may feed off of Muguruza’s pace and play a lot like she did in winning the 2011 US Open versus Serena Williams.  It is a lot easier to avoid unforced errors when one doesn’t have to generate most of the pace during a match.  If Stosur is not worried about her error count and her nerves are settled, it could be a long day for the young Spaniard.

I could see either player win in a blowout or either player win in a 3 set classic.  It comes down to momentum for me.  Muguruza has been searching for her best form since her surprise Wimbledon runner-up finish last year.  She seems to have found it.  That is not to say Stosur doesn’t have momentum as well from her unexpected semifinal run, but I think Garbine is a talented player who is believing in herself again.  That may be enough to reach a second major final in the past 52 weeks.

My Prediction: Garbine Muguruza d. Samantha Stosur 6-3, 3-6, 6-3

 

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