WTA Cincinnati 2017 will continue on Thursday as the women look to winnow the field of competitors down to quarterfinalists. Madison Keys and Garbine Muguruza are both capable of winning the Cincinnati tournament. However, the two players will be in one another's way just for a spot in the quarterfinals on Thursday. Keys and Muguruza will meet in an early-afternoon match from Cincinnati as both players look to advance.

Muguruza a big question mark

There's no telling what kind of effort will come out of Muguruza at this point in her season. She won Wimbledon in July, but since then she has fallen in two straight tournaments.

She underachieved in both Stanford and Toronto, not really putting in competitive matches against talented foes. She's certainly beating the peripheral players right now, but back in Stanford Muguruza lost to Keys directly. The Spaniard kind of pulled a disappearing act in 2016 after winning the French. With Wimbledon 2017 bagged is she satisfied for the moment? Will Keys be the more motivated of the two on Thursday?

One would think so as Keys took the title down in Stanford a few weeks ago. Her energy levels seemed high to start Cincinnati as well, having beaten Coco Vandeweghe to start the tournament. Keys has long been considered the heir apparent for American women's tennis. With Serena Williams' cryptic retirement remarks from earlier this week, it could be that the future is now for Keys.

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Her injury problems appear to be history right now following the Stanford title. If she can get over Muguruza then Keys will have a look at getting to the late rounds through either Carla Suarez-Navarro or Svetlana Kuznetsova on Friday. Neither of those two players appears to be on title-winning form at the moment.

Match time and head-to-head series

Keys and Muguruza will meet not before 1 PM local time in Cincinnati on center court. The match follows the men's match between Grigor Dimitrov and Juan Martin del Potro. That match itself starts at 11 AM so if it is a lengthy one or if there are any delays then Keys' match will be delayed in kind.

Despite the fact that Muguruza is the more proven player in terms of major titles and career-high ranking it's American with the edge on the Spaniard on head-to-heads. These are two similarly-aged players still in their early 20s. In three previous meetings, Keys has gone 3-0 when on includes qualifying tournaments (ie. Cincinnati 2012 qualifiers). The American should have the confidence on Thursday as she eyes the late rounds of an American-based event.