In the 2016 French Open final on Saturday, No. 1 Serena Williams will take on No. 4 Garbine Muguruza. Serena leads their head to head 3-1 with Muguruza's only win coming at Roland Garros in 2014. This is a battle of power vs. power—big serves vs. big returns and lots of heavy hitting from the backcourt. First serve could be critical for both players as they are both great at returning second serves. The obvious solution is to get a lot of first serves in play, but the challenge is to do so without taking too much off the serve.
Both players are good from the baseline but even better when they get the chance to attack the net. This means that short balls in rallies can lead to devastating results. Depth, pace and placement of groundstrokes will be crucial for both players—anything weak or short in the court will be dealt with harshly. Serena has started slowly in her last two matches, with poor movement and lots of errors. She will need a stronger start against a player the aggressive game of Muguruza. Serena will also want to establish early in the match that she is the one who will dictate how the points will be played...but so will Muguruza.
Serena’s health and ability to move will be key. She showed less than ideal movement in her semifinal against Kiki Bertens and Muguruza will look to test her early and often. With her power, Muguruza won't just test Serena's patience, as others have, but she'll also test Serena's quickness and fast reactions. That could prove to be too much for a less-than-100% champion to handle. Muguruza has never won a Grand Slam singles title so she will feel the pressure, but Serena is trying to tie Steffi Graf with 22 Grand Slam titles, so she will feel the pressure as well.
Serena’s Roland Garros Highlights:
• Solid serving in difficult conditions: 29 aces, 72% 1st serves won, 52% 2nd serves won, saved 25 of 34 break points (74%)
ª Dominating return game: 42% won returning 1st serves, 61% won returning 2nd serves, 28 breaks in 58 games (48%)
• Big forehandL 75 forehand winners only 49 forehand unforced errors
• Very effective approaching net: 73% won
Muguruza Roland Garros Highlights:
• Strong 1st serve: 23 aces, 75% 1st serves won, inconsistent 2nd serve, 23 double faults, 45% 2nd serves won
• Dominating return game: 45% won returning 1st serves, 61% won returning 2nd serves, 29 breaks in 57 games (51%)
• Great balance from the backcourt: 54 forehand winners, 57 backhand winners
• Very good on the big points: Saved 27 of 37 break points against her serve (73%), converted 29 of 53 break points (55%)
Check SI.com's French Open Daily Data Viz hub page throughout the whole tournament for the latest data-driven infographics and charts from IBM, the official technology partner for the French Open. IBM captures and analyzes the data that powers all of the Grand Slams, as well as the digital platforms that extend the experience to fans around the world.