As Garbine Muguruza entered the Middle East to play the Qatar Open, she’d found out her coach Conchita Martinez had tested positive for COVID and wouldn’t be able to physically support her throughout the event. “Behind every good player must be a good team…Conchita has a very good way of communicating which is something that is difficult to find…” Muguruza told the Tennis.com media. This disruption had only given the Spaniard more faith and determination to seal the deal and capture a title.
But it was Muguruza who was going through extra emotional turmoil as she hadn’t won a championship in almost two years since the Monterrey Open in 2019. The Spaniard had gotten close to going for the title at the Qatar Open when she’d meet up with Petra Kvitova. The Czech’s game was nearly flawless and Muguruza fell in straight sets.
The Dubai Duty Free Championships was the former Wimbledon winner’s last shot at going for her 8th career title. She was left with getting coaching virtually from Martinez and knew that she had to be ‘spot on’ in her game to even consider being up for a title. Muguruza had told Tennis.com that “…I didn’t have a coach but I still played incredibly. It proved that I have to let my racquet talk…this gave me a lot of strength as an independent player.”
Muguruza had built up confidence to turn a bitter situation around
She’d won over the teen Amanda Anisimova, the super tough Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka and the Belgium Elise Mertens who has 17 career titles combining singles and doubles. Landing into the second final in a few weeks, Muguruza faced Barbora Krejcikova, a doubles specialist, their first time meeting. “It was a tricky match because it was hard to get a feel for her game…I had to work so hard in the first set, and the difference was just one point…” the Spaniard explained to the tennis media.
It was after Krejcikova had pushed the first set to a tiebreak, that Muguruza came through with expert placement and tactics to win the opening set. The momentum and timing had come together after that for the Spaniard to dominate her Czech opponent. The second set had fierce ball movement, blasting strategies and hard nose tactics but it was Muguruza who came out with the victory of 7-6, 6-3. There was relief and joy for Muguruza and her team as she held up her trophy high, and yet did give her opponent praise. “I think she played great. She had an incredible run.” The Spaniard was glad things turned out well and gave a big grin saying “I’m just happy I was stronger today.”