Third seed Garbiñe Muguruza kicked off her 2016 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix campaign in fine style late Wednesday evening, powering past Hungary's Timea Babos 6-2, 6-2 in an hour and 17 minutes. With this victory, Muguruza awaits the winner of the match between fifth seed Petra Kvitova and Monica Niculescu, who are set to open proceedings inside the Porsche-Arena on Thursday afternoon.
Muguruza Races Through Opening Set
After trading a trio of breaks to begin the match, it was Muguruza, the younger but more experienced of the two, who utilized her big serve to pinpoint perfection as she held for 3-1. With Babos seemingly unable to find any rhythm on her own serve once she mounted a 40-15 lead in the following game, Muguruza pounced, saving a pair of game points before breaking at the first time of asking.
Babos, however, was not prepared to go down so quietly, and quickly utilized her powerful ground strokes to gain the upper hand a game later. As a few untimely unforced errors flew off the racquet of the Spaniard, the Hungarian managed to recover one of the two breaks against her to reduce the deficit to 2-4.
However, Muguruza's powerful returning paired with her beautiful use of the angles of the court allowed her to break once more, thus giving herself at least two opportunities to serve out the set at 5-2. In the end, the reigning Wimbledon finalist proved she needed no second invitation as she successfully and emphatically served out the set at love, winning it 6-2 in just over half an hour.
Muguruza Continues Momentum; Seals Victory in Straight Sets
Picking up right where she left off in the early stages of the second set, Muguruza showed no signs of sticking around as she continued to force the issue from the receiving end, eventually breaking her Hungarian counterpart in the first game. Unlike in the first set, it wasn't a case of déjà-vu as the world number four continued to find her rhythm on her own serve en route to consolidating the early break, hitting her spots with a great deal of power and precision.
Babos, who's game revolves around a massive serve, just couldn't seem to get a foothold in this second round encounter despite having numerous opportunities to do so. In a lengthy third game, Babos staved off a trio of break points and even had a pair of chances to get on the scoreboard, however Muguruza had different ideas. Finally, at the fourth time of asking, the third seed stuck to her guns and hit a glorious backhand crosscourt return that ultimately went unreturned, thus allowing Muguruza to go a set and 3-0 to the good.
As the players traded blows from the back of the court, it was often the Spanish number one who had the last laugh, as she saved five break points en route to consolidating the double break, thus denying Babos a chance to get on the scoreboard. However, after losing six games in succession, the world number 40 finally got over the line, getting on the board without much fuss. Perhaps that was the motivation the Hungarian needed to get back on track as she unexpectedly broke a game later to further reduce the deficit to 2-4, however it was a case of too little, too late in the end.
With Muguruza able to rebound quickly, Babos soon found it more difficult to gain the upper hand in the majority of the rallies without commiting the inevitable unforced error, and the Spaniard took full advantage of this. With the combination of power and finess in her game, the 22-year-old Spaniard managed to break in yet another tightly-contested game, a common occurence throughout the course of the match. With the opportunity to serve out the match, Muguruza made no mistake, sealing a 6-2, 6-2 victory with another big first serve.
"Here in Stuttgart it is a little bit special the surface because it's indoor clay so you got to adapt really fast, so I'm so excited to be in the third round and it's actually my best result here," Muguruza said in a post-match interview.