There’s not much separating French Open champions Garbiñe Muguruza and Barbora Krejcikova. Both players hit the ball huge off the ground without missing very often. As such, the oddsmakers have this exciting fourth-round clash listed as a pick'em, with Krejcikova barely favored over the Spaniard at -120.

With the clear exception of Ash Barty, Krejcikova has been the most impressive player in the WTA this year. She’s 40-11 with three titles, and has only lost to each tournament's eventual champion—Barty at Wimbledon and Cincinnati, Belinda Bencic at the Olympics, and Iga Swiatek in Rome—since May. In that timespan she captured the French Open, as well as titles in Prague and Strasbourg. She has been an absolute model of consistency.

After starting 2021 with a bang, going 17-3 with a title in Dubai—where she defeated Krejcikova in straight sets—Muguruza’s form has calmed down a bit. She’s 16-9 since Dubai, but looked like her championship self in her dominant 6-2 third set over Victoria Azarenka on Friday.

With all that said, I will be closing my eyes and placing a small wager on the Czech. For a player in her type of zone to be nearly even money is worth a play against anyone except Barty.

The primary reason Krejcikova is a good bet, aside from her confidence and form, is her beautiful stroke production. She hits the ball like a brick, yet both her forehand and backhand are two of the most repeatable shots on tour. Rarely, if ever, will she have a complete breakdown from a groundstroke wing.

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When a player can drop the racket-head below the ball, and swipe up through the hitting zone with this kind of force, you have a special shot. 

But her backhand is more of the same, dropping the racket far below the ball to guarantee spin and margin. Her groundstrokes are beautiful. 

When a player can drop the racquet head below the ball and swipe up through the hitting zone with this kind of force, you are seeing a special shot. And her backhand is more of the same, with her setup and execution guaranteing spin and margin. Her groundstrokes are beautiful.

Please don’t bet a large amount, as Muguruza is a proven champion with the ability to get hot. But at even money, how can you not consider a play on the second-best player on tour this year?

The Pick: Barbora Krejcikova