DOHA, Qatar - Former WTA World No.1 Garbiñe Muguruza shook off some of her early season struggles to earn a 6-3, 6-4 win over Duan Ying-Ying at the Qatar Total Open.
"It's been a while since I am not competing, and I played her actually recently in the US Open, and we had a tough match, and today was quite similar, especially at the end," Muguruza said in post-match press. "It was very interesting. She was playing better, and took me a lot of match points, but it was just an exciting end."
Muguruza was playing her first event since a surprise second round loss to Hsieh Su-Wei at the Australian Open. After racing out to a set and 5-1 lead, the Spaniard needed eight match points to seal off the Chinese veteran and advance into the second round after 87 minutes on court.
"It was a very tough match. It doesn't matter how many match points I had, but I won!" she said during her on-court interview. "That's the important part; it's good to have a victory."
The reigning Wimbledon champion recently announced her decision to re-add Conchita Martinez to her coaching team; Martinez was with Muguruza during her triumphant Wimbledon fortnight last summer.
"She's going to bring a lot of experience on how to handle tournaments and tough moments. When you aim for the best, you need the best team!
"I'm not looking to feel comfortable in the court," she continued after the match. "I'm just looking to compete and to have matches and to play the top girls also and just to be in the competition. Doesn't matter the feeling or the result, but I want to feel that I'm competing and I'm healthy, and I think that's really enough."
A quarterfinalist in 2016, Muguruza struck 14 winners while withstanding 22 from the always aggressive Duan, maintained a 71% first serve percentage and broke serve four times to advance into the third round for the second time in three years.
"This is my fourth or fifth time here. I went to the Souk, and the Pearl. I like it here; it's very fresh and modern.
"This year is a year where I got to do a little bit more outside. And I think it's just so modern and new. Every time I come here there is like 17 buildings more, and it's impressive. I think that for us to come here, it's good because they treat us very well, and we have everything we need to play."