New York - Long before Garbine Muguruza was the hottest
player in women's tennis and among the favourites for next week's US Open,
Serena Williams predicted her ascension.
It was two years ago, when Williams, the unrivalled queen of
the sport, had just vanquished Muguruza in the Wimbledon final for her 21st
grand slam singles title.
"She said: 'you're going to win this in the
future," the 23-year-old Spaniard recalled last month during a TV
"But I don't think she meant (while) playing her
Little did Serena know that Muguruza would overtake her a
year later for the French Open title and then make good on her prophecy by
besting sister Venus at Wimbledon this year.
Now with Serena sidelined for the impending birth of her
first child, the two-times grand slam winner is delivering on the promise that
could see her become the new face of women's tennis.
With her devastating 6-1 6-0 romp of Simona Halep to claim
the Cincinnati Open on Sunday, Muguruza rose to third in the world rankings.
And with two wins in her last four tournaments, she arrives
at Flushing Meadows in New York with a seemingly good formula to reach the
second week at the US Open.
"Playing three tournaments (since Wimbledon) and
lifting a trophy is a great preparation and I hope it's going to help me,"
Muguruza told reporters.
"But I know even if you play a terrible match before a
grand slam it doesn’t really matter, or if you win a tournament. We’ll see how
For all of Muguruza's natural gifts, including her powerful
groundstrokes, wingspan and court coverage, she has yet to realise her best in
New York and in four attempts has never advanced past the second round of the
Muguruza has admitted a natural affinity for French Open
clay and a reverence for the grass courts of Wimbledon, but the hard courts of
Flushing Meadows have been a puzzle.
"I feel like I'm going to try and not have a lot of
expectations with New York," said Muguruza. "Every time I have a
little bit, it holds me a little bit back. I'm just going to go out there from
zero. Forget about what happened previous years. It's a new tournament."