LONDON, Great Britain - Three weeks before Wimbledon, Garbiñe Muguruza had lost her Roland Garros crown and fallen out of the Top 10 for the first time in two years.
The Spaniard has already resolved the latter problem by reach the last four here - and she has her eye on the former ahead of her semifinal against unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova.
"I felt very good when I won [a] major. I think I'm in a similar path, let's say like that," she told the press after her straight-sets quarterfinal victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova, ominously for the rest of the field.
With Muguruza's usual coach, Sam Sumyk, absent from Wimbledon due to family issues, the No.14 seed has turned to compatriot and 1994 champion Conchita Martínez for grass-court advice this year - a decision that has been paying off.
"It's actually relaxed and funny because we get along very well," the 23-year-old told the press after her first-round win over Ekaterina Alexandrova. "She knows how to play here. So I love it."
Muguruza would be wise to brush up on grass-court wiles ahead of her match with Rybarikova. The Slovak may be this tournament's surprise package, but she's demonstrated a formidable ability to use her craftiness to tangle up more powerful opposition, from No.3 seed Karolina Pliskova in the second round to No.24 seed CoCo Vandeweghe in a one-sided quarterfinal.
Indeed, Rybarikova has bested Muguruza on grass before: in their most recent meeting, in the first round of Birmingham in 2015, the 28-year-old was a 6-3, 6-1 victor. The overall head-to-head is level at 2-2, with Rybarikova's other win also coming on fast courts, indoors in Paris in 2013; Muguruza has emerged on top in both their outdoor hard court encounters, including an epic Australian Open first round in 2013 that ended in a 14-12 deciding set.
Despite making a name for herself as a grass-court specialist with results such as a Birmingham title in 2009 - beating Li Na in the final - Rybarikova lost in the first round on her first seven visits to Wimbledon before finally reaching the third round in 2015. Following her spectacular comeback from wrist and knee surgeries this year, she has spoken about how relaxed she feels on court now. After her quarterfinal win, she told the press: "I was very surprised because I was always thinking before when I was home... how nervous I would be when I was watching the other players to have match points and to get into the semifinal. I was really not that nervous."
Having lost seven straight matches at Wimbledon, who's to say that the newly relaxed Rybarikova can't win seven straight?