The Roland-Garros 2016 champion headed down under unseeded at a Grand Slam for the first time since 2014, having seen her ranking dip just outside the Top 30. No one expects the Spaniard, possessing such an effective and powerful game, to be outside of major contention. The two-time Grand Slam champion, reunited with compatriot Conchita Martinez, who guided Muguruza to Wimbledon glory in 2017, incrementally re-established her status in Melbourne.
Muguruza, 26, dispatched four seeded players en route to the final, her first at the Australian Open. The sizzling straight sets semi-final triumph over Simona Halep demonstrated a player well and truly back on the major stage. American prodigy Sofia Kenin edged out Muguruza’s dreams of a maiden hard court Slam in the captivating three-set finale, but the fortnight down under illustrated the hunger, passion and perspective has returned.
“Right now, it's tough to be happy, although it has been an incredible tournament. You lose a final, but you got to make it to the final to be able to win or lose, said Muguruza, having held back the tears in an emotional runners-up speech. I don't analyse too much. Really, start of the year, first day I was almost in the locker room. I lost first set in, like, 10 minutes. I also have to don't be too bad on myself, and value that it paid off.
I try to have a good perspective and not be too dramatic. Okay, you lost the match, was important one. But, hey, I'm here. I gave myself a chance to be in a final. You realise that, and you calm down a little bit.”