Muguruza Ends Impressive Day, Svitolina Looms In Last 16
Published March 12, 2017 12:14
INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - Reigning French Open champion Garbiñe Muguruza survived a tremendous effort from American wildcard and former junior No.1 Kayla Day to win, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, to reach the round of 16 at the BNP Paribas Open. Up next for the Spaniard is No.10 seed Elina Svitolina, who won a 15th straight match on Sunday over No.24 seed Daria Gavrilova in straight sets.
"I think she plays very good," Muguruza said during her on-court interview. "She's very young and has a great future. She reminds me a little of me, when I was super motivated and playing very good."
Day served notice last summer when she won the US Open girl's singles title, and caused the first upset of the tournament in Indian Wells by surprising Australian Open semifinalist and No.32 seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. She looked more than capable of another on Sunday, racing out to a 5-1 lead and eventually serving out the opening set in just over a half hour.
Muguruza's enjoyed solid results to start 2017, but has struggled with injuries at the Brisbane International and the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships; serving down 0-40 in the second set's crucial fifth game, the Spaniard found that Slam-winning resolve to reel off five straight points to ward off the 17-year-old.
"I started a bit off; my shots weren't there. The experience of keeping calm and fighting helped; it's no secret!"
Day had two more break points at 5-5, and could have served for the match had she converted either, but Muguruza escaped again and proceeded to convert her first break point opportunity of the set to force a decider.
"Obviously I was pretty upset after my match, because it didn't go the way I wanted it in the end," Day said in her post-match press conference, "but if you look at the big picture, I was able to push a Top 10 player really far."
The final set proved more straightforward for Muguruza, who broke early and never looked back to clinch the win in two hours and four minutes.
"I think I'm improving in general a lot of things, but I know that maybe two years ago this match I wouldn't turn it around. I think that's experience.
"The way I prepare myself to go out there in the court, it's just handling the difficult days because that's what counts and what makes the good players and the not-as-good players."
In all, she hit 36 winners to 39 unforced errors, and corverted four of seven break points, compared to Day's two of 11. The American nonetheless acquitted herself well on Stadium 1, hitting 18 winners to 33 unforced errors.
"When you win matches like this, it helps your self-confidence. I'm very happy with this win because I didn't know what was going to happen after that first set!"
Muguruza will next try to end Svitolina's 15-match winning streak in the hopes of reaching her first quarterfinal in Indian Wells.
"I'm trying not to think about whether this is my best tennis," Svitolina said after the match. "I've achieved a lot of what I wanted, so I'm happy that I'm keeping it going."
The first Ukrainian woman to crack the Top 10, Svitolina shook off a thrilling three-setter against Wang Qiang on Friday to play business-like tennis against her friend and former doubles partner, taking a 6-2, 6-1 win over the Russian-born Aussie.
"Every match is a story, and I've had a couple of good stories at the moment. I'm just trying to enjoy what I have now. After Miami, I'll have a break, sit down with my team and go over what I've done well and what I need to work on. This worked over the off-season, and I want to keep learning."
The pair have played four times in all, with the former World No.2 winning their first two encounters and the Ukrainian evening their head-to-head in 2016 with wins in Dubai and Tokyo.
"She had a tough match today. I haven't thought much about this match, and I'm going to a concert tonight - Okean Elzy, a very famous Ukrainian band is playing in LA - so I've had this in my head all day!
"I have a day off, and so I'll think about it tomorrow with my team; we'll have a hit, practice, and then we'll see."