Rome Masters: Muguruza, Mladenovic open busy day in Rome with victories
The loss of a day's play due to rain yesterday was a true challenge for Belinda Bencic and Garbine Muguruza who both went the distance in their respective matches at the BNL Internazionali D’Italia Thursday.
While the Spaniard made it through to the next round with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Danielle Collins, the Swiss star met her match in Kristina Mladenovic, who handed her a 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 defeat.
Muguruza was facing the American for the first time in her career. The duo traded holds and breaks through the first 6 games of the match. Muguruza quickly raced away though, breaking again in the seventh game and then holding serve to take a commanding 5-3 lead in the set.
The world number 19 looked in fine touch and clinched the first set in 42 minutes. Collins hit back though and put a lot of effort into the second set. Her effort was rewarded as she secured an early break and raced away to a 3-0 lead.
However, Muguruza rallied to break back and get back on serve before breaking the American's serve again to go 4-3 up. It was Collins' turn to conjure up a response and she did so, reeling off three straight games to take the set 6-4.
However, it looked like she had invested too much effort into that set and did not have much left in the tank in the decider. Muguruza raced off to a 5-0 lead. Collins saved one match point to get a break back but Muguruza made no attempt while serving for the match a second time, finishing things off in 2 hours and 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, Belinda Bencic faced French star Kristina Mladenovic who had yet to drop a set in Rome. Mladenovic got off to a fast start, scoring three breaks of serve in a row to comfortably take the set in 39 minutes.
Bencic found her rhythm in the second set though and reeled off five straight games to get back in the match. 41 minutes later, the Swiss star had forced a decider. However, Bencic looked spent by the beginning of the third set and her level dropped considerably.
Mladenovic sensed that and stepped on the gas. Reeling off games in quick succession, she took the set 6-1 to move into the next round.
The Frenchwoman faces Australia’s Ashleigh Barty in the next round while Muguruza squares off against Victoria Azarenka.