Muguruza ‘deals with anxiety’ to make a successful start to the season | Tennis News


SYDNEY: Australian Open third seed Garbine Muguruza started her season in confidence with a straight-set victory over Ekaterina Alexandrova on Wednesday at the Sydney Classic.
The Spanish world number three, who had been exempted in the first round in Sydney, resisted a response from the Russian, 40th in the second set, to win 6-1, 7-6 (7/4).
Muguruza will now face another Russian, Daria Kasatkina, in the quarter-finals after beating Belgium’s Elise Mertens 6-3, 6-4.
Muguruza, a former world number one and two-time Grand Slam champion, will be one of the main contenders at next week’s Australian Open.
Her best result at Melbourne Park was in 2020, when she finished second to surprise winner Sofia Kenin.
Playing her first match since winning the WTA Finals in November, Muguruza, 28, said she was encouraged by how she stayed strong against five set points in the second set.
“I was very happy to stand very calmly in the second set when I was, you know, at 5-4 and serving and I had all these set points, where you can get a little upset” , she said.
“So to manage the anxiety, play the first game of the year and you want to win and you want to start off on the right foot.
“The last game was two months ago, so it’s been a while.”
Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur prepared for the first Grand Slam of the year by beating two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-4, 6-4.
Jabeur, 27, made a breakthrough in 2021, winning his first WTA singles title and breaking into the top 10 for the first time.
Seeded seventh this week in Sydney, Jabeur came from behind in straight sets to beat Kvitova for the first time in four attempts to advance to a quarter-final against Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit.
Fourth seed Kontaveit earned a comfortable 6-3, 6-1 win over Romanian qualifier Elena-Gabriela Ruse.
In the men’s draw, four of the five seeds progressed without too much trouble.
Top-seeded Russian Aslan Karatsev beat Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic 7-5, 6-4, while third-seeded Briton Dan Evans crushed Spain’s Pedro Martinez 6-2, 6-3.
However, second seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia was beaten by former world number one Andy Murray in a marathon match that lasted three and a quarter hours.
In an intriguing clash between two completely different styles of play, Murray’s consistency was just enough to take him over the line 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/3), 6-3.
The exciting Basilashvili hit an incredible 59 winners to Murray’s 24, but the Georgian also committed 52 unforced errors which ultimately cost him the game.
Murray, who received a wildcard for next week’s Australian Open, said he was happy with how his fitness has been holding up.
“It was an incredibly tough game – he still hits the ball bigger than anyone on the tour,” Murray said.
“I had to do a lot of defending, a lot of running.
“My legs came up nice, really good in the last set.”
The Australian Open starts on Monday.

Source link

Comments are closed.