PARIS (Reuters) – Former champion Garbine Muguruza cantered past Swede Johanna Larsson 6-4 6-1 on Wednesday to set up a potentially explosive third-round clash with Elina Svitolina.
The Spaniard, seeded 19th, was kept on her toes in the opening set before motoring on in the second on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
Muguruza, who lifted the Suzanne Lenglen Cup in 2016, relied on her booming forehand throughout and wrapped it up when Larsson netted a service return.
“I tried to build points a bit more instead of hitting very hard and trying to get a winner,” the 25-year-old, who also won Wimbledon in 2017, told reporters.
“And then I had to adapt my game to the clay, because you have to adapt. You have to build your points a bit more. I also used more topspin, and I tried to be more patient.”
She will face Svitolina after the ninth seed advanced without hitting a ball on Wednesday when her opponent, fellow Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova, withdrew from the tournament due to a viral infection, which at first was thought to be intercostal pain.
Both players have been tagged among the tournament favourites and Svitolina has a 5-3 win-loss record against Muguruza.
“Maybe it’s a bit too early, but too bad. It will be a very interesting match to play,” said Muguruza.
“ I think it’s a great third round for both of us. Well, personally, it’s the type of matches that I want to play. It can be, you know, any deep-round match, but it’s in the third round.
“So it’s going to be a good one.”
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)