PARIS (Reuters) – Spaniard Garbine Muguruza laid down an impressive marker at the French Open as she overpowered ninth seed Elina Svitolina 6-3 6-3 to reach the fourth round on Friday.
The 19th seed has struggled for consistency this year but Roland Garros tends to bring the best out of her and so it proved again as the 2016 champion outplayed the Ukrainian on a sunny Court Philippe Chatrier.
Muguruza made her intentions clear from the start, planting herself on the baseline and blazing away with her baseline power-game that Svitolina struggled to contain.
Making mincemeat of Svitolina’s serve, she broke five times in the opening set, allowing her opponent only seven points on her own delivery, albeit dropping her own serve three times.
A series of service holds broke the pattern at the start of the second set before Svitolina speared a forehand winner to break and nudge 3-2 ahead.
Muguruza raised the intensity again, however, and won an exhausting 22-stroke rally to level at 3-3.
The two-time Grand Slam champion then powered through the last three games to book her place in the fourth round for the sixth time in eight appearances.
She will face either last year’s runner-up Sloane Stephens or Polona Hercog next.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Tony Lawrence)