Muguruza US Open Favourite After Steamrolling Halep in Cincinnati Final


World #6 Garbine Muguruza has beaten World #2 Simona Halep to claim her maiden title at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. In doing so, she prevented Halep from becoming the first Romanian woman ever to ascend to World #1, winning 6-1, 6-0.

It had the prospect of being an exciting final. Both players seemed confident going into the match. Halep stated that the challenge of claiming that elusive #1 spot would spur her on, with Muguruza responding by saying that she felt a little less pressure following her Wimbledon win.

But the Spaniard simply blew her Romanian counterpart away with imperious serving and groundstrokes. She never allowed Halep to settle into the match, serving an incredible 81 per cent of first serves and not a single double fault in the first set. Muguruza hit more winners and less unforced errors than Halep, and she only gave her opponent two break point opportunities, both of which came in the second set. She was nothing short of brilliant.
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Halep just couldn’t respond to Muguruza’s aggressive tactics. She did have flashes of her own brilliance, however. Unbelievable forehand winners, such as the one to save game point at 0-3 in the second set, reminded us of why she was on the cusp of being World #1 going into this match. But these were interspersed all to often with nervous, simple errors that she would normally put away.

Error-strewn performance costs Halep

She seemed on edge from the outset, calling her coach, Darren Cahill, over once she went 4-1 down in the first set. It is understandable that, in light of the occasion, Halep may not have been in the best state of mind with the added pressure on her shoulders. Overall, however, Halep didn’t play that badly. She just made too many errors and was not, as aggressive as coach Darren Cahill would have liked.

Nonetheless, as the scoreline suggests, the better player won on the day. This week, Muguruza has gone from a player few people would have tipped for the title at Flushing Meadows, to being one of the favourites. She beat the world’s top two players on the way to the title this week, and who is to say she can’t do it again in New York later this month at the US Open?

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