SINGAPORE - French Open champion Garbiñe Muguruza looked like a lock for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global after she stunned Serena Williams for her first Grand Slam title. Since that fateful spring fortnight, the Spaniard had her share of ups and downs, and her chances of a second straight Singapore appearance ultimately came down to the wire at the Generali Ladies Linz.
Seeded No.5 in Singapore, Muguruza resolved not to feel pressure a year removed from her thunderous debut, in which she roared through group play with a perfect 3-0 record en route to the semifinals, falling to eventual champion Agnieszka Radwanska in three tough sets.
"I think I have a kind of target, yes, but I don't think why I should complain about that," she said during Saturday's All-Access Hour. "I think it's an amazing place to be.
"I was thinking the other day, doing like a little recap of the year and stuff. I'm like, I've got to remember that like in one year I did two Grand Slam finals, because I did Wimbledon final and then the French Open trophy. I was 22.
"'Come on, Garbiñe. Who was the last girl that did that?' So kind of it motivates me and to think about something good."
That renewed sense of perspective may well have been aided by an injury scare in Linz, where a left ankle turn left some wondering whether she would be healthy enough to end the season at the WTA Finals.
"I kind of freaked out in that match because when I twist my ankles, they get really swollen. They're delicate. I'm happy that I didn't have anything important and I'm here with my physio working. So far it looks good."
Landing in the White Group with Radwanska, Karolina Pliskova, and late qualifier Svetlana Kuznetsova, it's been so far, so good for Muguruza, whose practice aired on Facebook Live during an installment of My Coaching Corner.
"Not to be tired," she joked when asked what she planned to do differently should she play Radwanska again. "Because with Carla [Carla Suárez Navarro], we [were] also in the semifinals in doubles, and I was semifinals in singles. Oh, my God. I was exhausted. And then Aga was just on fire. She couldn't miss a ball. I was like, 'Really?'
"I think I just have to play at the same level for sure. I will have my chances. I think I had my chances then, too."
For Muguruza, the WTA Finals means more than simply lifting the Billie Jean King Trophy; it's a credit to a year's worth of consistent results that helped her ease down the Road to Singapore, and into the last big tournament of the 2016 season.
"It feels so good to be back here. It means you have been one of the best eight players of the year, and I feel part of something incredible. Everybody is here fighting for the last trophy. It's a great achievement. No matter what happens, for us to be here is already a great thing."
Muguruza begins her week on Monday, playing second against Pliskova, seeded No.4.