Tennis: Muguruza upbeat despite recent patchy form

French Open champion Garbine Muguruza taking a wefie with Simona Halep (second from right), world No. 1 Angelique Kerber (kneeling) and fans after a public workout at The Pavilion in Far East Square.
French Open champion Garbine Muguruza taking a wefie with Simona Halep (second from right), world No. 1 Angelique Kerber (kneeling) and fans after a public workout held by adidas at The Pavilion in Far East Square.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Garbine Muguruza may have considered herself lucky to qualify for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, but she is still aiming to improve on her semi-final showing on her singles debut last year.

The Spaniard has hit a rough patch since beating then-world No. 1 Serena Williams 7-5, 6-4 to claim her first Grand Slam tennis title at the French Open in June.

She suffered early exits, including crashing out in straight sets in the second rounds of Wimbledon and the US Open, and her best run since was a semi-final showing in Cincinnati in August.

Still, the 23-year-old has taken her downturn in fortunes in her stride, smiling as she spoke to The Straits Times on the sidelines of a public workout organised by adidas yesterday.

"When you reach such a high peak, you have to go down a little bit, so it was hard for me to deal with that and my expectations," she said. "I've learnt a little bit about how to manage all this, and I think I'm still learning - to be calm, focused and not get too nervous."

  • Flip the coin at the WTA Finals

  • One lucky fan will get to toss the coin for the second singles match at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global on Sunday. The coin toss determines which player gets to choose to serve or receive in the first game of the match.

    The winner of the "Coin Toss Opportunity", which is organised by The Straits Times in partnership with the WTA Finals, will also get to take a photo with the players on centre court at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

    In addition, he or she will win a pair of premium tickets (worth $189.80 in total) to Session 1. This includes admission to the opening-day centre-court programme, plus access to the Family Day At The Tennis.

    To enter the contest, follow the ST sports desk (@STsportsdesk) on Twitter.

    Tweet us with the hashtag "#STtosslikeaboss" and tell us, in a single tweet, why you would like to toss the coin.

    All entries must reach us by noon today.

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Muguruza is gunning for an improved showing over 2015 at this year's season finale.

She added: "Only the top eight get to be here in Singapore, so it's amazing to be back because it means you've been playing incredibly and deserve your spot here.

"Hopefully I can do better than last year, but I think just being here is pretty lucky."

World No. 1 Angelique Kerber and No. 4 Simona Halep were also present at yesterday's workout at Far East Square.

The latter will be making her third consecutive appearance here, and is seeking success as well.

While she is still chasing her maiden Grand Slam title, the Romanian's main focus for now is on winning her group-stage matches. "I'm dreaming of winning a Grand Slam, but you never know - I work hard every day to achieve this goal, but every tournament is really important," said Halep, whose best major performance was losing in the 2014 Roland Garros final.

The 25-year-old, who won two premier level tournaments in Madrid and Montreal this year, added: "The pressure is high during the Grand Slams, and you play every match like it's a final because it's the highest level in tennis."

•Additional reporting by May Chen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2016, with the headline 'Muguruza upbeat despite recent patchy form'. Print Edition | Subscribe