Former French Open champion Garbiñe Muguruza has struggled for form over the past 12 months since winning in Paris. The 23-year-old has fallen out of the top ten after losing her French Open title in the fourth round to Kristina Mladenovic. Nonetheless, the Spaniard returns to the site of her first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon in 2015, and she is in fine form.
Muguruza was on No.3 Court against 2009 US Open semifinalist Yanina Wickmayer. The Spaniard defeated the Belgian en route to winning the French Open last year, and she was victorious again at Wimbledon, sending the former world number 12 packing 6-2, 6-4 in just one hour and 20 minutes. She will play Sorana Cirstea in the third round. The 14th seed defeated Cirstea in their fourth round meeting at the Australian Open back in January.
Muguruza shines in the opening set
Both hard hitters had comfortable service games in the first couple of games of the match. However, the former world number two had to fend off a break point early on as Wickmayer produced a crushing backhand return winner down the line. Muguruza saved it with a good serve, and she held onto her serve to lead 2-1. Wickmayer would rue that chance as the 14th seed broke her in the next game. Both players continued to hit the ball hard in the next game but the former French Open champion continued to serve well and consolidated the break to lead 4-1.
The 27-year-old reached the semifinals of the US Open in 2009, and she had a comfortable service game in the next game but trailed 4-2. Last year's French Open champion's game went up to another level as she produced back-to-back aces to take a commanding 5-2 lead. Wickmayer continued to remain frustrated at herself, missing easy shots and repeatedly committed backhand unforced errors in the match. She trailed 15-30 when she was trying to serve to stay in the first set as Muguruza amped up the pressure by producing a stunning backhand return winner down the line on the second serve. The former world number 12 was unable to handle Muguruza in the business end of the first set as the 2015 Wimbledon runner-up claimed it by producing a scorching forehand return winner down the line to take the first set 6-2 in just 32 minutes.
Muguruza books her place in the third round
Breaking for the set meant that the 14th seed would serve first in the second set which proved to be the difference. The former French Open champion held serve easily in her first game of the set, and she produced a low forehand winner down the line to lead 1-0.
Both players were not holding back on their shots and Wickmayer, who is currently ranked at 96 in the world, levelled proceedings at 1-1. The second set was serve-dominated, and both players continued to produce stunning aces and outrageous forehand and backhand winners down the line. The former world number two continued her dominance in the second set to lead 3-2 as her serve came to her rescue when she was threatened on her serve. Wickmayer showed no fear in the second set, as she had Kim Clijsters in her coaching box.
Muguruza was under the watchful eye of 1994 Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez, who is also the Spanish Fed Cup and Davis Cup captain. However, the first break point chances in the second set arrived in the eighth game. The 14th seed's hitting defensively was causing problems for Wickmayer. However, Wickmayer saved both break points, and she won three outrageous back-to-back points by sending down aces, and a scorching forehand winner down the line.
The former world number two was under pressure in her own service game as she trailed 0-40. Nevertheless, it was gutsy tennis from the former French Open champion as she produced a stunning backhand winner down the line, and an ace to wipe out the break points. Muguruza took advantage as her footwork was on point, and she produced a scintillating backhand winner down the line to get to 30-30 on the Belgian's serve. The Spaniard created her first match point by winning the point with a backhand winner down the line with Wickmayer stranded at the net. Muguruza sealed her place in the third round by virtue of a wild forehand unforced error going long.
Both players produced five aces and zero double faults. The former world number two got 68 percent of her first serves in and won 76 percent of the points on it. Muguruza produced 20 winners and committed ten unforced errors, in contrast to Wickmayer who committed 22 unforced errors and produced 18 winners.