The opening match on Court 1 on the day of second-round action in the women’s draw at the Ariake Tennis Park, tennis venue of the Tokyo Olympics, saw Spain’s Garbiñe Muguruza face off against Wang Qiang, the sole Chinese representation left in the draw, the former having not beaten the latter before.
With their only two previous meetings – both coming in the fall of 2018 and like this time, on the Asian continent – two-time Grand Slam winner Muguruza tasted victory in their head-to-head for the first time, needing just a little over an hour to see off the Tianjin native and book her place in the next round.
Muguruza reclaims break-lead to snatch opening set
With Muguruza opening the match with a love service hold of her own, proceedings between the Spanish-Chinese duo went to the server in the next four games.
Muguruza began making inroads on the Wang serve, with the latter serving at 2-3, as the former created the first break chance of the encounter, duly converting to go up 4-2.
29-year-old Wang, however, roared back into contention in the next game as she saw off Muguruza’s lead with a break back of her own.
That proved to be the last straw for the Spaniard who duly broke serve again before consolidating her lead, which ultimately earned her the set, and the score 6-3.
Muguruza completes win with second-set bagel
Venezuelan-born Muguruza was not keen to hang around much longer as the 27-year-old stole the show in the second set with a bagel of her own.
En route to the final game of the contest, Muguruza converted three of four break point chances, and surrendered just one point on serve.
Serving for the win up 5-0 in the set, the Spaniard faced some resistance as Wang denied her the win in her first two match points.
The third one would be the one Muguruza needs as she closed out the match 6-3, 6-0, needing half the amount of time she did in her previous match, which lasted two hours and two minutes.
Muguruza’s much cleaner performance this round showed in her numbers where she dropped just five points on her first serve, winning 20 of them, and despite a much lower ace count compared to her previous match (2 to 11), she was successful in five of six break point chances.
On the other hand, Wang struggled to find her serve as the Chinese player got just 46% of first serves in as opposed to Muguruza's 63%, besides having won half the total number of points than the latter (27 to 54) and hitting nine more unforced errors against her opponent’s 13.
“Honestly, I am very happy with my game today. I have played well, aggressive at all times, and was successful, even more so against a player who has beaten me twice before. This time I came out for revenge,” Caracas native Muguruza told Spanish media after her win.
The 2016 Roland Garros champion reflected further: “Each victory gives you that extra energy and confidence. There are still several rounds left, but today is a day to be happy.”
“The most important thing is to reserve the energy. In such a big event, with so many people, and so many factors, you have to take it one match at a time.”
The 2017 Wimbledon champion Muguruza next takes on a familiar foe in Belgium’s Alison van Uytvanck, who took out the only Olympic medal winner in the draw, Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova, halting the Czech’s bronze medal defence with a come-from-behind win, 5-7, 6-3, 6-0.
Having ended Muguruza’s Wimbledon title defence bid in second round three years ago, and an Olympic quarterfinal appearance at stake, the Belgian will be looking to record another similar landmark win, something the ninth-ranked Muguruza will be mindful of.