Garbine Muguruza turned in a fine performance to win her first round showdown against Sloane Stephens at the Internazionali BNL d' Italia, claiming a 6-3, 6-3 victory. The Spaniard struck 22 winners and broke the American four times in the 73-minute long battle of two former Grand Slam champions.
Muguruza sharp in topping Stephens for third round berth
It was Muguruza who saved a break point in the opening game of the match and in the fourth game, she held a break point as Stephens double-faulted. Using her backhand to great effect, the ninth seed broke the American to go ahead 3-1.
A second break put her in commanding position at 5-1, but serving for the set, she threw in her own untimely double fault to give Stephens a route back into the set, which she took by holding to narrow the gap even further at 5-3.
Muguruza had to work hard, saving four break points in a 17-point game and finally sealing the set on her fifth chance when she thumped a forehand that Stephens had no reply to. A one-hour rain delay then suspended proceedings.
The Spaniard opened up the second set with a break and saved a break point in her next service game to go in front 2-0. After six consecutive holds, including three in a row to love, Stephens served to stay in the match at 5-3.
Facing match point, Stephens watched as Muguruza finished with a brilliant forehand down the line to complete an excellent performance and set up a third round meeting with Coco Gauff.