SHENZHEN, China - Two-time Grand Slam champion Garbiñe Muguruza was Wednesday's first winner at the Shenzhen Open, as the No.6 seed scored a 6-1, 7-6(2) win over American Shelby Rogers to move safely through to the quarterfinals.
With the victory, Muguruza has now consecutive wins at a WTA event for the first time since last year's French Open, where she reached the fourth round.
"I think she started to play better, and the match was more equal," Muguruza assessed. "I was happy that at the end in the tiebreak, where it was 50-50, and that I could win the match.
"Every match is very important and it's great to start the year here and get as many matches as possible. Every tournament is a challenge, and I'm happy to keep playing."
Despite only winning one game in the first seven, Rogers nonetheless forced Muguruza to find some of her best tennis early in the match, and it proved a sign of what was to come in the second set.
Closer than the scoreboard would indicate, the first four games of the first set were hotly contested -- none moreso than the third game, with the Spaniard serving, as Rogers was unable to convert any of three break points to fall behind 3-0.
After getting on the scoreboard in the fourth game, but saving a break point to do so, Rogers lost five of the next six games to trail by a set and a break at 6-1, 2-1, but the American swiftly battled back from there.
From a 30-0 deficit, Rogers scored her lone break of Muguruza's serve for the match to restore parity at 2-2, and the two players traded dominant holds of serve until the ensuing tiebreak.
"The first set was quickly on my side, but then in the second set, she came back playing very well and definitely the match was tougher," Muguruza said.
"I was happy with the tiebreak, because you never know who's going to win in that situation, but I managed to play well and get the match under my belt."
Neither woman faced a break point -- or was even stretched to deuce -- over the next eight games, but another quick start in the breaker helped the Spaniard over the finish line.
Muguruza won the first four points, and six of the first seven overall to give herself five match points, and converted on her second opportunity to move safely through to the last eight.
With a semifinal berth on the line, the former World No.1 will face Kazakhstan's Zarina Diyas, who ousted Russian Anna Blinkova -- the first-round conquerer of top seed Belinda Bencic -- in a marathon, 6-1, 6-7(9), 6-4 victory.
"My goal is to play as many matches as I can, so I'm looking forward to my next match and to keep advancing in the tournament," she added.
"I've never played [Diyas] so I'm looking forward to facing a new opponent."