French Open: Garbine Muguruza rallies to overcome Taylor Townsend
Garbine Muguruza survived a slow start to progress to the second round (Getty Images/Adam Pretty)

French Open: Garbine Muguruza rallies to overcome Taylor Townsend

A former champion in Paris, Muguruza struggled early on and dropped the opening set, though impressed in sets two and three to move into the second round.

oliver-dickson-jefford
Oliver Dickson Jefford

2016 French Open champion Garbine Muguruza survived a slow start to reach the second round in Paris, with the Spaniard coming from a set down to defeat America’s Taylor Townsend in the first ever match on Court Simonne Mathieu.

Muguruza, a semifinalist last year, has struggled with confidence and poor form in the past 18 months or so, and was far from her best in the first set, with Townsend being the better of the two and deservedly taking a tight opening set.

Muguruza and Townsend before the match, which was the first ever to take place on Court Simonne Mathieu (Getty Images/Adam Pretty)
Muguruza and Townsend before the match, which was the first ever to take place on Court Simonne Mathieu (Getty Images/Adam Pretty)

However, unfortunately for the American, it seemed that losing the opening set was the kick the 19th seed needed. Muguruza was at a much higher level in set two, breaking twice to send the match to a decider, and was just as clinical in the decider, sealing a 5-7. 6-2, 6-2 victory in just shy of two hours to start her campaign for a third Grand Slam title.

Muguruza survives poor start to hold off Townsend threat

The Spaniard has picked up more wins at this tournament than at any of the other Grand Slams, and despite some poor form coming in, the final two sets today show that she is more than capable of another good run at Roland Garros.

The match started evenly, with both the Spaniard and Townsend facing little trouble on serve, though it was the American who broke through first, breaking Muguruza for a 4-2 lead. The Spaniard was able to break back straight away, though was never able to get a solid foothold ahead of Townsend, and 15 unforced errors ultimately contributed to her downfall in the opener, with the American breaking for the second time in the final game to take it 7-5.

Muguruza in action during her first round victory (Getty Images/Adam Pretty)
Muguruza in action during her first round victory (Getty Images/Adam Pretty)

The American certainly had the ascendancy heading into set two, though Muguruza quickly raised her level, and broke through early on, breaking and consolidating for a 3-1 lead. Townsend was not playing poorly, though was unable to match Muguruza’s improvement, and the Spaniard broke for a second time to lead 4-2. The 19th seed had little trouble in serving out the set, and taking the match to a decider.

Muguruza found herself under pressure early on in the decider, with Townsend holding a break point up 1-0, though the American was unable to convert, and that ultimately cost her. Muguruza broke in the next game for a 2-1 lead, which started a run of four games in a row as she eased to a 5-1 advantage. Townsend fought hard to save three match points on her serve and force Muguruza to serve for victory, though she had little trouble in doing so as she secured victory.

It was not a perfect performance from Muguruza, who struggled in the opening set, though she impressed in sets two and three, ultimately hitting 37 winners to 29 unforced errors. The 19th seed will face Sweden’s Johanna Larsson in the second round.

 

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