PARIS, France -- No.3 seed Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain claimed a second-round victory at the French Open on Thursday, outplaying 21-year-old French wild card Fiona Ferro, 6-4, 6-3.
"It's always tricky when you face a French, a young, talented player," Muguruza said, during her post-match press conference. "Probably wasn't the best tennis out there, but I'm happy that I managed to fight and to win and be in the third round."
Muguruza, the champion in Paris in 2016, eased past Ferro in 80 minutes in the first meeting between the two players. Muguruza had 26 winners in the match, compared to 23 unforced errors, and won half of the points when returning serve.
"All I want is to go out there, compete, and win," said Muguruza. "Doesn't matter if my shots are not for the picture. It's fine. I'm happy with fighting, do whatever I can, to eventually win the point. That's all that matters. Of course if you play good and beautiful, everybody feels better, but at the end just counts the result."
In the previous round, Ferro had finally clinched her first ever main-draw win at a Grand Slam, after three prior unsuccessful bids as a wild card in Paris. The French youngster posted a solid showing against Muguruza, the reigning Wimbledon champion, but she could not overcome 18 unforced errors in the encounter, and dropped serve five times out of 10 service games.
Muguruza moves into the third round for the fifth consecutive year, where she will face 2010 French Open runner-up Samantha Stosur of Australia, who ousted No.30 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, 6-2, 7-6(1), also in the second round on Thursday.
"[Stosur] can be a very serious and dangerous opponent," Muguruza admitted to the press. "She is experienced in semifinals here. It's going to be a tough match, but I'm looking forward to it."
Ferro, who picked up her first-ever win over a Top 100 player when she took down Carina Witthoeft in the opening round, quickly made her presence known against the World No.3 with some solid play, particularly off the forehand side. Muguruza had to fend off an early break point in the fourth game of the match before holding for 2-2 with a forehand winner at the end of a brutal rally.
The Spaniard was blasting groundstrokes at breakneck pace, and used powerful backhands to claim the first service break of the match and lead 3-2. But Ferro stayed positive and took advantage of errors by Muguruza to break back for 3-3 in her first match against a Top 5 player.
But Muguruza eked ahead again in the very next game: a double fault by Ferro brought up a break point, which Muguruza converted after she thumped a crosscourt forehand to force an error from Ferro. The Frenchwoman held in her next service game to force Muguruza to serve for the one-set lead, but the Spaniard did not panic, closing out the opening frame with her third ace of the set.
Muguruza broke Ferro's serve to start the second set via some exceptional service returns, but Ferro was not done yet, breaking right back for 1-1 with a forehand return winner of her own. For the next four games, both players served effectively, with no break points to show for either.
However, two-time Grand Slam champion Muguruza kicked her game into high gear at 3-3, and used her experience to dominate during the final stretch of the match. The 3rd seed reached double break point in that game, and converted her first opportunity by blasting a forehand at Ferro, forcing a reply long.
Muguruza rolled through her next service game at love, meaning Ferro had to serve to stay in the match at 5-3. The Frenchwoman hung tough to 30-30, but a barrage of sterling backhands by Muguruza eventually forced a backhand error by Ferro, setting up match point for the Spaniard. On that point, Muguruza forced a long forehand from Ferro, ending the contest.
Afterwards, Muguruza said that winning a Grand Slam tournament "takes a lot of hard work, a lot of good matches and playing good during such a long time, because this tournament is long. Two weeks you have to really every day bring it up again and again and again. I think that's what makes it difficult for a lot of people."