"I had matches so much in control and I don't manage to close. It gets complicated..." Garbine Muguruza says confused by her court actions. This has been the Spaniard's nearly 10th French Open appearnce, to match her WTA ranking and she blew her first round to Estonia's Kaia Kanepi in three sets.
It's becoming a terrible pattern of first round jitters as Muguruza also lost the opener of the Italian Open to Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan in three sets. She didn't have it any easier a few months ago at Indian Wells with an opening loss to Alison Riske.
The more she plays it could be that doubt gets into her inner workings and makes her 'clam up' Muguruza would feel that she's putting in the regime and work it takes to stay fit. It doesn't seem to be a leading factor though in trying to cut her losses.
"I'm playing tournaments, trying to switch those moments, try to get more confident," Garbine says. She has made a valiant effor to have the strategies come together but it hasn't yet. The first set she ws feeling confident and had proved consistent over Kanepi.
The Spaniard had her control and aggression well planted to win the first set over the Estonian. But starting the second set, Muguruza started lacking the dominant rhythm and perseverance she had in the opener. Kanepi seen and acted on her weakness and easily won the second set 6-3.
But gaining the momentum and dominant performance was good for Muguruza as it was tied 3-all in games. Somehow that winning formula started flatting out as Kanepi picked up her pace and style of play to win the slam champion.
If it wasn't down-the-lines it was lobbed over Muguruza's head. It began to be just the simplest winning strategies as opening up the court and cross courting the Spaniard. This is what Kanept did. As the match when on, the crowd could cut the tension and the lack of power and desire in Muguruza's game with a knife.
It was annoying and all the verbal support didn't change things. Frustration and loss of confidence had built to a high once the Estonian had grabbed the next set win. It appeared to be all downhill for the Spaniard in the third and decidng when usually she gains momentu, defiance and wins.
Muguruza is positive on turning the tables on a abad situation and come up, go deep and win again. She realizes it's not physical as a mental aspect that blocked her from plaing free and loose. The previous year in 2021 was better and seen herself defeating Tunisian's Ons Jabeur twice and winning the Chicago Fall Classic final in three sets over her.
The top of this year she had made the rund of 16 in Dubai and in Qatar the quarterfinal. Things started to fall apart with Indian Wells and from there the tour wasn't very well workng for her. Garbine remains positive though. "..We all know that every year is different and so far just working through it."