Garbine Muguruza’s Draw Opens at Rio 2016

Garbine Muguruza of Spain advanced to the third round and she now has a great look of making the semifinals.

Garbine Muguruza, who has had little success since winning the 2016 French Open, is into the round of 16 at the 2016 Rio Olympics. On Day 3 of the event, Muguruza defeated Nao Hibino in straight sets with ease 6-1, 6-1. Looking ahead at the next two rounds, you really have to like the Spaniard’s chances of making the semifinals – meaning she has a good chance of playing for a medal.

Muguruza will next face Monica Puig, a player that does not have a ton of experience winning big matches. Puig is still only 23 years old, however she still only has one career WTA title to her name. Furthermore, she does not have a victory over a top-ten player this season and often loses to players ranked outside of the Top 20. Muguruza therefore has to be liking her chances of making the quarterfinals with what appears to be a winnable match at that point as well.

In the quarters, Muguruza would face either Laura Siegemund or Kirsten Flipkens. These are two players that have done some damage on the lesser events of late, however both are ranked outside of the Top 30. Siegemund, who is playing in her first hard-court event since Miami, seems to have a clear preference for clay.  Meanwhile Flipkens’ season has been very spotty, despite a victory over Muguruza at a time when the Spaniard seemed tired and unmotivated.

Other players that won on Day 3 on the Spaniard’s half of the draw include Serena Williams, Elina Svitolina, Petra Kvitova, and Ekaterina Makarova. Those players are in a tough gauntlet to make the semifinals, with Williams the clear favorite.

Looking ahead we could be looking at a Muguruza/Williams semifinal showdown. Given that those two players are the most-recent Grand Slam champions, that match-up is pretty much thee match on tour right now. In my view, the survivor of the top half of the draw will be the favorite to win the gold medal when the final comes around this weekend.

On the bottom half of the draw, Angelique Kerber was the highest-ranked player to advance through round 2. She defeated Eugenie Bouchard, reversing a 1-3 record against the Canadian for the victory. Sam Stosur, Johanna Konta, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Daria Kasatkina, Sara Errani, Carla Suarez Navarro, and Madison Keys also advanced on Day 3.

While the botton half of the draw doesn’t have the powerhouse players that the top half has, betting odds imply a Kerber/Keys semifinal. If you were trying to project medals at this point then you would probably go with Williams over Kerber for the gold and Muguruza over Keys for bronze.

 

Shane Lambert