"For the second time she took the title away from me..." Garbine Muguruza says in disbelief as she loses another final to Petra Kvitova this time in straight sets at the Qatar Open in Doha. It was three years ago without the Pandemic, that Kvitova had the same effect over the Spaniard.
But it's a great thing to have reached the final of any tournament as Muguruza is grateful of her accomplishments and her dedicated team. The abbreviated 2020 season for Muguruza was pierced with up and down results.
The world health crisis, the Spaniard tackled like a trooper. She was defiant and played a sharp game. She had made the semi-final of the Italian Open losing in 3 sets to Simona Halep. The French Open, Muguruza went up to the third round falling to Danielle Collins in 3 sets.
She was glad to have finished off the turbulent year and longed to see a fresh new tour start. The beginning of the 2021 season had many tangibles whereas the Spaniard did well to go deep arriving into the Melbourne final after being caught up in the world crisis 'bubble'
She had felt encouraged that her new year would be a positive turnaround but she experienced a loss to the country favorite Ashleigh Barty in straight sets. Naomi Osaka was the villain that double crossed the Spaniard at the fourth round of the Australian Open leaving her to feel she had to trudge on and do well at the Qatar Open in Doha.
Last year Muguruza had only gotten to the quarterfinals there being defeated by Ashleigh Barty in three sets. She wanted to do better naturally each year and so she did at this 2021 Doha event.
This year's Qatar Open the Spaniard played extraordinary.
She'd won nearly every set of the event and made it to the final but the road gets bumpy after that when Petra Kvitova was waiting down the road for her where Muguruza thought would be her rainbow to gather a trophy adding to ther 7th career titles.
The Spaniard thought she had more advantages going into the final this time around with getting a full day's rest since the semifinal with Victoria Azarenka saw shortened due to retirement of a back ailment. Muguruza had defeated the nearly toughest players on tour with wins over Aryna Sabalenka and Maria Sakkaki but it didn't appear to be quite enough as the final came around.
It was right before the Doha tournament started that her coach Conchita Martinez, a multi-grand slam winner in her career, tested positive for COVID-19 and wasn't able to be there physically for Muguruza. The Spaniard pushed on enjoying the sizzling journey.
The final Muguruza had tried to be aggressive but her game had fizzled. Petra Kvitova had played a flawless game even into the final and Muguruza really couldn't defuse the Czech's blasting and exact strategies.
"It's been a great run--tough conditions," Kvitova gave a slight smile after winning her 28th career title and 2nd Doha crown. Garbine Muguruza felt like her game did elevate in levels but the scoreboard would be hard to evaluate the results on her side.
Teh Spaniard was glad to see herself through to the final, saying "Every day is a new match." But despite Kvitova getting the trophy for the second time over Muguruza, the former Wimbledon champ felt slighted on not having the tactics at the end to finish Kvitova off with a victory.
It was the best of times for Kvitova and the not-so-great ending that Muguruza wanted being defeated by Kvitova for 5 straight matches. It is what it is and Muguruza knows that so may players have dreamed of getting into a final as she's done not accounting for the result.
As this point all the Spaniard could say is "I can't wait to come back..." and accept her finalist prize with fortitude hoping that next time will really be the charm.