Muguruza digs deep in her opener

Antonio Arenas Mutua News, Tennis, Women's Tennis

Garbiñe Muguruza warned before her Mutua Madrid Open bow that her downtime may have left her with some rust to shake off. The Spanish player’s return to the WTA Tour having recovered from a shoulder injury came on Friday with a hard-fought win over Ajla Tomljanovic in two sets and one hour and 36 minutes (7-5, 6-2).

A month and a half after her last match, in Indian Wells, the world No. 9 started her campaign at the WTA 1000 in the Spanish capital with the added pressure of playing at home and delivered on expectations against the No. 38 ranked player to progress to the second round.

Muguruza broke early, but Tomljanovic recovered immediately and unsettled the home favourite by gaining a lead on her own serve. After the Australian let slip a 0-30 on the return in the tenth game, the Caracas-born Spaniard managed to convert a break in the next (6-5) and serve out the first set after 50 minutes of play (7-5).

Tomljanovic asked questions on Muguruza’s serve in the second game with four break points she failed to capitalise on. The script early in the second set was similar to the first and the 2016 French Open and 2017 Wimbledon champion managed to find another break (2-1).

That proved to be a turning point for the Spaniard, and after the Aussie requested a medical timeout, the seventh seed put her foot down and, with a winning smash, claimed the set, in 46 minutes, and the match (6-2) before an ovation from the fans in the Manolo Santana Stadium.

“Now it’s my turn”

Garbiñe Muguruza means business and she made that clear no sooner had she finished her opener against Tomljanovic. “When we play away from home we don’t have the support of the fans that we get in Madrid, but now it’s my turn and I’m really happy”, acknowledged the Spanish Top 10 player.

The champion of last year’s Akron WTA Finals in Guadalajara spoke about how she handled her emotions on her return to the tour. “I was a little nervous in the corridor before going out because I didn’t want to let the fans down, but I accepted that I would be lacking tempo and feeling a little out of sorts”, admitted Muguruza.

The world No. 9 was pleased with her performance against Tomljanovic. “I felt fine having lost to her a few months ago, I think I played better today and the tactics worked”.