Garbiñe Muguruza's quest for a first WTA title since her rise to the number one ranking started well in Wuhan, with the Spaniard holding off the potentially dangerous Lesia Tsurenko to reach the third round.
Muguruza, whose lost in the semifinals in Tokyo last week in her first week as the world’s top player, did not find things particularly easy against Tsurenko, who won the biggest title of her career in Acapulco earlier this year. The Ukrainian pushed Muguruza hard, but the Spaniard eventually prevailed 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 46 minutes at the Wuhan Open.
Up next for the Spaniard will be Polish qualifier, Magda Linette, with the two facing off in the fourth match on Centre Court tomorrow. It will be the first meeting between the two, with the winner facing qualifier Monica Puig or eighth seed Jelena Ostapenko in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
Muguruza works hard to reach the third round
Things were certainly not easy for the Spaniard, who received a bye in the first round, with Tsurenko making things a little tougher than it seemed they could be throughout the match, though Muguruza was eventually able to pull through in straight sets.
Evidently well-rested after a deep run last week, Muguruza started brilliantly, breaking twice as she eased to a 4-0 lead in fine style. Though Tsurenko had clearly been overpowered in the opening stages, she started to work her way into the match and applied some pressure as she got one break back and reached within one game of her opponent. However, the top seed was able to regain her composure, holding a 5-3 lead, and though the Ukrainian saved a set point at 5-3, Muguruza was able to serve out the opening set.
Tsurenko had worked her way back into proceedings towards the end of the first set, though failed to keep that momentum going and was broken early on for a 2-1 lead, with Muguruza consolidating for 3-1. The Spaniard remained firm on her own serve, comfortably putting herself just a game away from the next round, though once again had the pressure put on her as she failed to convert a match point as Tsurenko was serving to stay in it. She didn’t find things easy when serving it out, though eventually converted a third match point to progress.
It is undoubtedly an important week for the Spaniard, who is at risk of losing her world number one ranking to Karolina Pliskova- the person she usurped at the top of the rankings just last week. Muguruza will secure the number one ranking if she reaches the semifinals, though if she does not reach the last four Pliskova can regain the top spot if she wins the title.