US Open: Muguruza wins quickly in straight sets over Zhang
Garbine Muguruza earned a comfortable win to start her US Open on Monday. The former world number one showed no signs of struggle against Shuai Zhang taking her down in straight sets 6-3, 6-0 on Court 17 at the Billy Jean King National Tennis Center.
The Spaniard’s 10-game winning streak helped her coast into the second round with a lot more left in the tank.
The Spaniard had been dealing with an arm injury that took her out of playing at San Jose and Montreal. With her getting in a match at Cincinnati, the 24-year-old did not get the result she wanted taking the rest of the time off to prepare for the Open.
It put her in a concerning spot against the Chinese player who she split wins against last season on hard courts. With the slight expectation that she and Zhang might go three sets again, the Spaniard hoped that her game and recovery could give her a positive result to get into the heavy of the main draw.
She started by breaking Zhang with a good response on returns but soon found that she had a competition on her hands being broken in the second game. The fight continued in the third with Zhang defending against Muguruza on deuce to hold serve and keep the lead early.
Muguruza kept in touch with the Chinese star scoring some more points near the net. Zhang was relentless in her quest to control the set and made a point to make sure Muguruza knew it scoring a serve to love in the fifth.
The Spaniard leveled with Zhang once again before earning a break that gave her the lead with a short momentum against the 29-year-old. She made it three straight holding serve in the eighth before making it her mission to put an end to the set.
Muguruza got ahead of the score but couldn’t stop Zhang from fighting back on serve to force deuce. Despite her want of extending the set, the Spaniard pushed to finish the set off winning on the second break to end the set in 48 minutes. Her serve was below 60 percent but won more than two-thirds of points from it. She had a dozen errors but recorded 13 winners to settle the issues.
After returning from a break off the court, Muguruza opened the throttle to her winning streak adding two more to make it a six-game winning streak overall. Zhang was trounced in the opening games of the set but made her fight in the third refusing to give Muguruza any more easy victories.
The Spaniard brushed off her first-time violation but got into trouble with the second serve that force deuce for Zhang. She didn’t let her dig in for the AD point and won another service game that kept her well in control.
With every effort to get into the second set, Zhang pulled out all the stops to make good on her hold in the fourth challenging a call to force deuce. Despite the small victory, getting the game in her hands was not meant to be as another error from the forehand gave Muguruza a commanding 4-0 run.
The world number 12 coasted through her service in the fifth with a shutout of Zhang sitting one game from entering the second round.
It was becoming evident that the 29-year-old wouldn’t find the necessary component to turn the tables. She double-faulted a second time and erred against Muguruza who remained focused from start to finish. She earned the easy victory with a big return hit that gave her the shutout completing her day in one and a quarter hours.
Muguruza landed 19 of 26 from the first serve and nine of ten near the net. With the unforced errors taking a break in the second set, the 24-year-old spent her time notching more winners to cap the day early.
She’ll prepare for Wednesday’s matchup against the winner between Karolina Muchova and Dayana Yastremska.