Australian Open: Injured Garbine Muguruza struggles past Marina Erakovic

Australian Open: Injured Garbine Muguruza struggles past Marina Erakovic

A thigh injury that forced the French Open champion out of Brisbane flared up, but she still snuck past the New Zealander.

John Lupo

Seventh seed Garbine Muguruza defeated Marina Erakovic 7-5, 6-4 to reach the second round of the 2017 Australian Open, but the bigger concern was the Spaniard's health as a recurring thigh injury hampered her movement significantly.

Erakovic keeps pace, but Muguruza grabs late break to take the set

It appeared that the injury plaguing Muguruza wasn't affecting her early on as she opened with consecutive love holds. Surprisingly, Erakovic matched her and that run extended to midway through the set as the server took the first six games.

The Spaniard would draw first blood as she broke to 30 to take a 4-3 lead only to see the New Zealander break right back and it appeared Erakovic was poised to take the set as she held set point on the Roland Garros champion's serve.

Muguruza, now clearly hampered by the injury, saved the break point and she finally breached the Erakovic serve when she built a 0-40 lead. Erakovic saved the first break chance with a clear forehand winner, but she badly miss-hit that forehand on the next point to hand the Spaniard the break and a 6-5 lead. A hold to 30 gave the Spaniard the set despite being at less than full strength.

Muguruza digs early hole, streaks past Erakovic to reach second round despite injury

Muguruza got off to a shaky start in the second set as she fell behind 0-40. After saving one break point, she double faulted to hand the break--and the lead to the New Zealander.After Erakovic held, the Spaniard called for the trainer to tend to her thigh injury and after a short break, she was back out there.

With the Spaniard clearly struggling, Erakovic was able to widen her lead to 4-1 behind strong serving. She had a golden opportunity to all but put the set away when she had 15-40 on the Muguruza serve, but she was denied and the seventh seed held.

That would prove to be the turning point of the match as Muguruza broke back. Consolidating the break, the Spaniard completed the comeback with another break to take a 5-4 lead.With her first love hold since the fourth game of the match, Muguruza closed out the feisty New Zealander to advance to a second round match against American Samantha Crawford, her health being the storyline going forward.