Australian Open 2017: Injury-hit Garbine Muguruza relieved to reach second round

Melbourne: Big-hitting Spaniard Garbine Muguruza battled through the pain barrier to make the Australian Open second round Monday, revealing she also struggled with nerves in the year's first Grand Slam.

The French Open champion, seeded seven, needed a medical time-out after the first set against New Zealand's Marina Erakovic for a leg problem before returning to win 7-5, 6-4 on Margaret Court Arena.

Spain's Garbine Muguruza celebrates her first round win over Mariana Erakovic. Reuters

Spain's Garbine Muguruza celebrates her first round win over Mariana Erakovic. Reuters

"There was not like a specific moment where I felt it, honestly," said the 23-year-old.

"I took a medical timeout and became a little bit unfocused on the court, and it took me a couple of games to get into the match again.

"It was good that I could turn it around in that second set, even though I was 4-1 down."

She added that it was a "weird match" where she also had to overcome nerves.

"With the years on the tour, you know that every time you go to these kind of tournaments, they are very important," she said.

"Obviously the first matches are tough, because you're nervous, you have to fight against the doubt of how it's going to be, and you face sometimes players that you don't play a lot of times with them.

"It can be tricky. So I'm happy."

Muguruza announced her arrival as a major force with her shock straight-sets victory over Serena Williams in last year's Roland Garros final, but consistency has been elusive.

She is yet to go beyond the fourth round at Melbourne Park but said ahead of the tournament she was learning to manage the pressure, and she had a good workout against Erakovic, ranked 110th.

Muguruza used her powerful groundstrokes to grind down the Kiwi as they exchanged service breaks in the opening set before the Spaniard took charge and broke again in the 11th game.

The Spaniard, who opened her season with a run to the Brisbane International semi-finals before retiring with a right thigh injury, was broken early in the second set before knuckling down to romp to victory.

Muguruza will next play American Samantha Crawford, who beat compatriot Lauren Davis 4-6, 6-3, 6-0.

Published Date: Jan 16, 2017 10:14 AM | Updated Date: Jan 16, 2017 10:14 AM

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