By Patrick Johnston
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Garbine Muguruza made an imposing start to the WTA Finals by confidently swotting aside Czech Lucie Safarova 6-3 7-6 (4) in their White Group opener on Monday.
The 22-year-old Spaniard served confidently, raining down 10 aces, and controlled the baseline exchanges on the slower indoor hardcourt at the Singapore National Stadium to continue her strong form.
The world number three, runner-up at Wimbledon this year, broke French Open finalist Safarova in the third game of the first set and pressurised her serve throughout a one-sided opening salvo.
Muguruza, who won the biggest title of her career at the China Open earlier this month, broke again to take the set but her opponent finally found some rhythm on the Spaniard’s serve to break at the start of the second.
The Venezuelan-born Muguruza regained her composure and broke the world number nine to love in the sixth game thanks to her heavy groundstrokes.
Both players had opportunities to gain another break but eventually the set went to a tiebreak which Muguruza controlled from the start to seal victory.
It was a revenge win for Muguruza after she and compatriot Carla Suarez Navarro lost to Safarova and Bethanie Mattek-Sands in their doubles opener on Sunday.
Czech Petra Kvitova will face Germany’s Angelique Kerber in the other White Group tie later on Monday.
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)