Former world number one Garbine Muguruza displayed some of the form that took her to two Grand Slam titles on Saturday, with the Spaniard downing fifth seed Elina Svitolina in a clinical performance out on Rod Laver Arena to reach the second week at the Australian Open.
Muguruza had gone to three sets in her previous two matches and had a losing head-to-head against Svitolina, who had won both her matches in straight sets. However, there was only ever going to be one winner today, with the former French Open and Wimbledon champion in complete control from the start.
Svitolina could not convert two break points on her opponent’s serve and herself was broken four times, unable to deal with the superb tennis coming off Muguruza’s racket. It took just an hour and seven minutes for Muguruza, who struck 31 winners to just nine unforced errors, to prevail 6-1, 6-2 and set up a fourth round meeting against Zarina Diyas or ninth seed Kiki Bertens.
Relentless Muguruza storms into round four
Muguruza was in complete control from the start, applying pressure early on as Svitolina was forced to save two break points to hold for 1-1 in the early stages. It didn’t take too long for the Spaniard to assert her dominance though, as she broke in the Ukranian’s next service game and consolidated for a commanding 4-1 lead.
Svitolina came into this match after two solid wins, yet looked a shadow of that player today. The fifth seed was allowing herself to be bullied on court, and an unreturnable backhand from Muguruza saw her break for a second time in the set. Two aces in a row helped set up two set points for the former world number one, and another big serve on the second saw her take the opener in just 23 minutes.
The second set started with a much needed hold for Svitolina, who had reached the last eight in Melbourne the past two years, though Muguruza was still applying the pressure, and a third break of the match saw her take a 2-1 lead in the second set. Some more dominant tennis saw her hold again comfortably for a 3-1 lead as she edged closer to the fourth round.
Svitolina was fighting as hard as she could, saving five break points down 1-3 to avoid going a double break down, though could still not get close on her opponent’s serve, with Muguruza holding for a 4-2 lead. More big returning from the Spaniard saw her break for a fourth time in the match and though she found herself facing break points for the first time, the Spaniard held firm and sealed an emphatic victory on her first match point.