Hong Kong Tennis Open: Garbine Muguruza is worth the wait after ‘long day’ of rain delays
Former world No 1 is quietly clicking into gear at Victoria Park, and not even a lengthy rain delay can stop her momentum as she instils herself as favourite
Garbine Muguruza was not sure if she would even get on court at Victoria Park on Wednesday for her Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open last-16 clash against Ana Bogdan.
As heavy rain lashed Hong Kong for most of the afternoon, the original 3pm start was put back half a dozen times by organisers, with some players beginning to give up hope.
“It’s true, it was a long day of waiting,” she said. “At some point I thought maybe I was not gonna play, but I’d rather play today, so yeah I’m happy.”
Fortunately, the rain ceased around 6pm, and after a Herculean effort by seemingly every available staff member on hand, the courts were dried sufficiently for play to get under way at 7.30pm.
The Spaniard eventually walked out at 10.21pm for the second match on centre court, and duly cruised through in one hour and 15 minutes
Victory for Muguruza set up a quarter-final against Thailand’s Luksika Kumkhum, who saw off Alize Cornet in three sets.
That match went to two hours and 43 minutes, further delaying Muguruza’s start time.
“You have to think you’re gonna play – the moment you just think you’re not gonna play and you relax too much, it’s harder to connect again,” Muguruza said.
“So I was a little bit active and thinking I was gonna play and watching through the window and seeing if it’s starting. There’s not much you can do.”
After reeling off back-to-back wins on consecutive days, Muguruza – who turned 25 here on Monday – now has a day off to rest and prepare for Kumkhum.
“I think it was a very good match, I’m happy the way I played the important moments,” she said.
“I played her [Bogdan] this year as well. She hits the ball very hard, very fast. So I’m happy I managed that and actually beat that.
“Thursday is a day off, it’s very good. I can train a little bit extra for my opponent. I knew tomorrow was off, I was happy about it, so I wanted to win for that.”
After the unfortunate withdrawal of US Open champion Naomi Osaka, former Wimbledon and French Open winner Muguruza is providing some stardust to proceedings in Causeway Bay.
A potential showdown with top seed Elina Svitolina looms in the semi-finals but Muguruza is staying focused.
“For now I play Kumkhum, so that’s it,” she said. “If I have to play her [Svitolina], I’ll play her. She’s one of the best players right now. I’d be happy to play in the semi-finals against her if I have to.
“The more matches I play, the better it is. I’m looking forward for a lot of matches in the final part of this year, try to get a little bit more rhythm.”