Match Review: Garbine Muguruza v Timea Babos

It was the seventh and final day of the Monterrey Open and we had the final between top seed Garbine Muguruza and fourth seed as well as former champion Timea Babos play for the 2018 Monterrey Open title. The final didn’t disappoint as the crowd were got a tense three-set match and saw Muguruza come back from a set and break down to get the 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over a tough Babos. Overall, this was not a great match from Muguruza and it was probably her worst of the event but she started well and then after going through a rough patch from the end of the opener and then throughout the second set, she played good tennis in the decider. Babos was great and playing incredible tennis for most of the match but then she just went through small patches in the second and third set when nerves got to her.

Set 1

The match had an exciting start as both women were intense and aggressive and Garbine Muguruza had to save two break points in the opening game but then she returned the favour by making Timea Babos save two break points in the next game. As the set continued both women started serving better but it still felt like Babos was the better player as she had the ability to rip returns and finish points of quickly while Muguruza tried to extend rallies which Babos wasn’t letting her do. That eventually showed in the scoreline as the fourth seed played phenomenal returns to set up break point which Muguruza hit a double fault on to give Babos the 2-4 lead. What was more impressive is that she did not relax after getting the break but she instead hit a flurry of aces to hold to love but then it seemed she might be getting nervous as she played a poor return game with unacceptable errors to give Muguruza one more hold. Eventually, it took a gutsy hold for Babos to serve out the 6-3 set as Muguruza was very aggressive but a breakpoint passed her by and Babos clinched the hold.

Set 2

It wasn’t a good start from Garbine Muguruza in the second set as she started in a game with a double fault and an abundance of errors to give Timea Babos the break to love and the errors really started to flow from Muguruza in the next game as Babos took a 0-2 lead. Babos could have taken Muguruza’s next service game as the top seed continued to spray errors frequently but Babos missed some big shots by small margins to give Muguruza a base to build on. We first started to see some nerves from Babos in the next game as she was tentative and didn’t unleash the full force of her powers as Muguruza broke back for 2-2. The two then exchanged convincing holds but then we saw Babos change her style and play crafty tennis to throw Muguruza off and it did work at first as Babos had a break point at 3-3 and then came close at 4-4 but Muguruza found the tennis she needed when she was in trouble. It all came crumbling down when Babos was serving to stay in the set as there were too many errors and second serves and Muguruza broke for the 6-4 set.

Set 3

The decider had the signs of a good set from the start as both women came out fierce and ready to battle it out. That showed in the first game as Timea Babos went on the offensive but Garbine Muguruza was able to fend her off and hold serve before putting in a sub-par return game. The game at 1-1 was another one that Muguruza was lucky to survive as she started poorly before Babos hits some shots to short and Muguruza smacked them away. It continued similarly with big serving and longer rallies but, particularly for Muguruza, there were more frequent errors than usual for a top player. Eventually, we saw Babos start to buckle under the pressure as this set got closer to the business end and she made some bad errors before Muguruza secured the break on an exquisite passing shot for 4-2. As the title got closer for Muguruza, we started to see her zone in like she had not before as she was getting more balls back with a good amount of depth and despite Babos getting one last hold and never stopping the fight, Muguruza secured her first title of the year with the 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win.

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