Muguruza & Ruud win the titles at Chicago & San Diego

Garbine Muguruza

There are times when Garbine Muguruza disappears. She doesn’t hit with enough depth, which just adds to her mental struggles. However, this year she has become very focused; when she hits a bad error, she forgets it, and moves on.

On Sunday, Muguruza beat Ons Jabeur 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 to win at the inaugural Chicago Fall Tennis Classic
Going into the match, the Spaniard realized she would just have to suck it up and continue to raise her game. By the third set, she was locked in.

“We’ve played recently, this year at Wimbledon, and it was a very tough match, and I knew that she’s having one of the best seasons that a player can have. I was prepared, I went out there with all the fighting spirit in the pocket,” Muguruza said. ”She was playing amazing in the first set, and my level was not at what it should be to play against her. I slowly found a space in the second set to break and to get that one, and force a decider. That gave me the extra confidence I needed, and also the energy to go and get the trophy.”

Muguruza has won two Grand Slams at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. When she finds her focus, she was one of the best players out there. After those major victories she did not understand why she couldn’t be much more consistent. She is fast, and she can bash the ball, with her forehand and backhand. When she is on fire, she can mix it up, and be very patient. Now the No. 6 has a chance to contest at the WTA Final once again, and then maybe she can beat all of them. When she is on, which is certainly possible. As long that she can be totally driven.

Ruud gets fifth 2021 crown
Norwegian Casper Ruud won a title, too, grabbing the San Diego title. In the final, he played almost perfectly, crushing Cameron Norrie 6-0, 6-2. He is getting better all the time.

“It’s a fun thing to say it, but obviously Daniil [Medvedev] and Novak [Djokovic] have bigger titles, so I wouldn’t mind switching up with them if I had an opportunity to switch five 250s to three Slams and a 250 Novak has,” He said. “It’s a bit higher level, but that’s fine. I think that’s more impressive obviously than five 250s, but I will take it,” Ruud said, “It would be fun to end the year with the most titles, I cannot lie about that.”

The 22-year-old is now ranked No. 10. In San Diego, he put down Andy Murray, Lorenzo Sonego, Greg Dimitrov and Norrie. In July, he started to play much better, winning Geneva, Bastad, Gstaad and Kitzbuhel. He is in the top 10 and leads the ATP Tour with five crowns in 2021..

“I tried to be playing really good in finals knowing it’s now or never. This is the time to bring your ‘A’ game,” Ruud said. “This year I’ve been perfect in finals, five of five and playing against good players in all of them.”

Ruud really admires with Rafa Nadal, who he has hit with him more than a few times. He also likes another top player, Dominic Thiem. Obviously Nadal is the king of clay and Thiem grew up on it. Nadal and Thiem figured out to excel on hard courts. Ruud is paying attention, winning his first of six titles on the San Diego hard courts.

“Nadal is the perfect example and I think also Thiem a little bit,” Ruud said. “I think the general media has considered both Nadal and Thiem (as) you know big-time clay court specialists and Nadal has won even two times in Wimbledon. So it just goes to show that it’s possible for the heavy topspin players to play well on the surface.”

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