Mugu­ruza’s de­fence nearly falls apart

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

PARIS: De­fend­ing French Open cham­pion Gar­bine Mugu­ruza had to claw her way back from a set down to sur­vive a scare from tal­ented Anett Kon­taveit and move into the third round with a 6-7, 6-4, 6-2 win.

It was a slow start for the Span­ish world No 5, but she even­tu­ally worked her way into the con­test, grow­ing in con­fi­dence as the game pro­gressed to set up a third-round match against Yu­lia Putint­seva.

“I think I was a lit­tle bit ner­vous when I started off, be­cause I knew she was go­ing to be a tough op­po­nent. She was very quiet, very re­laxed, and I had to calm down.”

“So it took me a while to get things back un­der con­trol,” said the 23-year-old, who was beaten by the Es­to­nian in Stuttgart just last month. The Spa­niard looked in real trou­ble when Kon­taveit, ranked 53rd in the world and in stel­lar form that has seen her reach the fi­nal in Biel and the quar­ter-fi­nals in Rome, took a one-set and 2-0 lead.

Mugu­ruza was kept in the con­test by her serve, win­ning 72 per­cent of all her first ser­vice points.

“In all of these long ral­lies, it’s re­ally im­por­tant to have a ro­bust serve, to have a lit­tle more ro­bust­ness and don’t rush things,” she said.

She needed just over two hours to over­come Kon­taveit, who by that time had run out of steam, slap­ping a back­hand wide.

“I re­fused to feel I was be­ing de­feated. I knew I could turn things around. I knew that if I in­sisted with my strat­egy I could suc­ceed,” Mugu­ruza said. – Reuters

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