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Muguruza vs Davis WTA Indian Wells live streaming, preview and tips – Muguruza faces former No. 26 Davis in Indian Wells opener

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 8 Mar 2019

Garbine Muguruza (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Former World No. 1 Garbine Muguruza gets her BNP Paribas Open campaign underway in Indian Wells on Friday when she takes on American qualifier Lauren Davis in the second round.

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Two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza faces what could be a challenging test in her Indian Wells opener on Friday against former World No. 26 Lauren Davis.

Muguruza first competed at the BNP Paribas Open back in 2013 when she qualified for the main draw as a teenager and made it all the way to the fourth round. However, Muguruza has only managed to make it back to that stage once since her debut, making the quarter-finals in 2017, while she lost her opening match in 2018 against another American in Saschia Vickery. Could lightning strike twice on Friday in the Californian desert?

Coming off an extremely disappointing season in which she slipped from No. 2 to No. 18 last year, Muguruza is in desperate need of a deep run at a big tournament. Seeded 20th in Indian Wells this season, Muguruza only made one quarter-final after her semi-final run at the French Open, illustrating just how much of a non-factor she was during the second half of the season. The Spaniard lost in the second round of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and just generally failed to make an impact as her forehand began to misfire more frequently and her coaching relationship with Sam Sumyk remained as dysfunctional as ever (at least in the public eye on court).

However, surely it’s only a matter of time before Muguruza recaptures her best tennis and becomes a force again? You don’t win two Grand Slams before the age of 23 if you don’t have serious talent. Effort has never been the issue with Muguruza, but she just can’t seem to get going no matter how hard she tries – and things haven’t really gotten any better so far in 2019, with the 25-year-old withdrawing before second round of Sydney and losing in the fourth round of the Australian Open, the quarter-finals of Hua Hin (her second defeat to teenager Dayana Yastremska) and the third round of Dubai. Furthermore, all of those defeats have been in straight sets, including a 6-3 6-1 beatdown at the hands of Karolina Pliskova in Melbourne and a 6-1 6-2 demolition by Elina Svitolina in Dubai.

As mentioned, Muguruza lost to a low-ranked American in her first match at Indian Wells last year, going down to wildcard Sachia Vickery. Can she avoid the same fate against the current World No. 199 on Friday?

Lauren Davis (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Lauren Davis is a far better player than that ranking suggests though. The diminutive American put together her best season in 2017 after winning her maiden WTA title in Auckland, reaching quarter-finals in Doha, Dubai and Rabat and the fourth round here in Indian Wells, hitting a career-high ranking of No. 26. Davis would go on to make the third round of the Australian Open to kick off 2018 and came agonisingly close to pulling off what would have been the biggest win of her career, but she went down in a thriller against World No. 1 Simona Halep, losing 15-13 in a marathon encounter.

Live Stream: WTA BNP Paribas Open tennis live from Indian Wells

From there, Davis hasn’t had much to cheer about. She got injured and missed the entire European clay-court season and actually didn’t win a tour-level match since the Australian Open for the remainder of 2018, dropping to as low as No. 262 in the world before salvaging her ranking slightly with a run to the final after qualifying for the $125k Series event in Houston in her last tournament for the season. The 25-year-old finally broke her near 12-month drought at tour-level by winning a round in Auckland (lost to Venus Williams in R2), but she failed to qualify for the Australian Open and toppled back out of the top 200 as she couldn’t defend her third round points. Davis arrived at Indian Wells at No. 199 after a run to the Newport Beach semi-finals, but she scored a valuable main draw win after receiving a wildcard into the tournament, taking out Anna Schmiedlova 7-6(2) 6-2 to earn a shot at Muguruza in the second round.

Muguruza won their only previous clash 6-2 6-0 on the grass of s-Hertogenbosch back in 2013, but Davis has absolutely nothing to lose in this encounter. All the pressure is on Muguruza, and it will be interesting to see how she performs on Friday. Of course, Muguruza has the bigger weapons and normally would be able to dictate this match-up, but she’s down on confidence and hasn’t been playing well for some time now. The same applies for Davis, but if she can approach this match with a nothing-to-lose mindset, you never know might what happen. Muguruza should win, but a Davis upset wouldn’t be too surprising.

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