BNP Seguros Monterrey: Muguruza holds in straight sets
Garbine Muguruza returned to Monterrey picking up where she left off at the GNP Seguros Abierto Tuesday night. The 2018 champion had a tough night on her hands against lucky loser Gabriela Ruse who forced her into a second set tiebreak but held in straight sets 6-4, 7-6(4) on Cancha Central at Club Sonora.
This was a first meeting between the two with the defending champion starting her run for another title. Muguruza didn’t go beyond her first match in Miami as her recovery from Indian Wells wasn’t enough. With the last 10 days off the court, time to practice and prepare for the tournament has her in a great spot to compete against the Romanian.
The cold weather seemed to have played a factor immediately with the Spaniard as she fell behind in the score. Muguruza recorded errors that cost her the opening game and was then blanked by Ruse in the second. She managed to hold the Romanian to a single point in the third but errors against her opponent’s serve opened the gap heavily. By the fifth, it as 4-1 for Ruse who scored every single point on the first serve while the 25-year-old suffered on both sides of hers.
In an attempt to recover lost ground, Muguruza had a break point but lost it when Ruse forced deuce. A much-needed push from her backhand allowed her to secure the sixth and cut the 21-year-old’s lead in half. She clearly found a way to warm up as she scored a serve to love before calling down Sam Sumyk to get some advice. With what occurred on court, Sumyk told her how well she was doing and where she could go after Ruse in the coming games.
A second break of serve got Muguruza back in the match to fully recover the lost ground. Knowing that three games slipped away, the Romanian had a break chance but watched the Spaniard fire the ball well across the court. After the ace for AD point, Muguruza got aggressive and forced Ruse to make the error on a return.
With a last chance to extend the set, Ruse blew it as she felt the pressure from Muguruza who dug in and slammed away for the win that took 37 minutes to complete. The improvement made late in the set gave the 25-year-old a lot to be pleased with the notion that she could keep it that way going on.
During an attack of her serve to start the second set, Muguruza forced deuce and shut the door on Ruse from getting the break. She made sure to hold against the former world number one which soon became a comfortable pace for the two. Through six games they traded off wins but in the seventh Ruse made the first strike to capture a break. The Spaniard broke right back to keep the set within her reach making the next few games critical.
Muguruza was again broken after committing a late double fault in the ninth that had the 21-year-old in a position to force a decider. She double-faulted at the wrong time that allowed Muguruza to find a way to push the set onward. On the AD point, the 25-year-old caught a lucky break with her return catching the top of the net before falling over to Ruse’s end where she had no chance getting to.
The 11th was a key moment as Ruse had the lead in the game but couldn’t close for the break. The time allowed Muguruza to save the breakpoints and for a deuce with some fierce shots. She was able to draw errors from the Romanian to capture the 6-5 stance and play for a shot at the match. She called down Sumyk who continued to keep his player highly confident and where to return the shot best.
The 12th went too fast for the Spaniard to decide and found herself immediately playing a second set tiebreak with some advantage against the Romanian. She scored an ace to begin things and then smashed a return to lead 2-0. The defending champion moved quickly gaining a four-point run that left Ruse stunned. She somehow got one on an error from Muguruza and went for another gaining a second straight.
A third did not arrive as she hoped to give Muguruza four match points. One was lost on a bad bounce off the net and another from Ruse’s crosscourt winner. She got within two but found it a done deal with Muguruza getting the last laugh with a line drive winner to win in straight sets after 1 hour 44 minutes.
“It was a tough first-round match,” Muguruza said during her on-court interview. “It’s very late and cold so with all the conditions, I had to fight and never lose the hope.” When asked about defending her title, the 25-year-old had a straight position on the subject. “I have five matches in total so today was the first and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
She will go into the second round facing Margarita Gasparyan who allowed just one game through her straight sets win.