MELBOURNE, Australia - Garbiñe Muguruza moved through to the fourth round of the Australian Open for a fifth time in eight visits with a scintillating performance against No.5 seed Elina Svitolina.
The Spaniard, who has won both the French Open and Wimbledon in the past, continued her perfect Grand Slam record against the Ukrainian, ousting her from a major for the fourth time in her career with a 6-1, 6-2 victory in one hour eight minutes.
Muguruza, though, came into the encounter with the odds stacked against her. She had a 4-6 losing record against the 25-year-old and posted just one victory from their five previous hard court meetings, while she has been fighting a virus.
That was scantly evident as she dominated the opening set with an exemplary display of length hitting, winning it in 23 minutes, before outmaneuvering her rival in the second.
“I was very concentrated and focused on what I had to do. Everything went pretty quickly my way, so I’ll take it,” she said after the clash.
“We always have good matches, so I was really looking forward to playing her.
“I played a very good match. I managed to stop her and took the match to my side, which I’m very happy about.
“It's definitely a good sign for me when you don't feel good and you manage to win matches and compete. Even if you're not feeling great, there's always a chance there. You just have to find your way.
“I'm pleased with my fighting spirit and accepting many situations that are not on your side sometimes.”
Marching towards the second week at the #AusOpen.@GarbiMuguruza breaks 5th seed Svitolina for the second time in the second set, to lead 5-2. The Spaniard is one game away from an #AO2020 fourth round appearance. pic.twitter.com/uIiq1UCcp1— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 25, 2020
Muguruza exerted pressure from the beginning, and though she passed up two break points on Svitolina’s first service game, she had delivered notice of the level that she would display throughout the match.
Hitting an immaculate length, she had Svitolina pinned back and regularly forced to make awkward shots. It was a pressure that told in the third game of the match as she broke to love in the midst of a run that saw her win 13 of 14 points.
Another break would follow as she closed out the opening set with a flourish.
Svitolina showed heart in the second set but she was unable to get her game to click into gear. The WTA World No.5 displayed her fighting spirit by scrapping out a 10-minute monster fifth game, in which she staved off five break points, but by this stage she had already slipped decisively behind.
Muguruza was working the ball around the court beautifully, and while her angles and depth remained impressive, it was two dropshots that wrought the break that carried her ahead in the second set.
As was the case in the opener, she added a second break for insurance, though it was not required as she served out successfully for the match, fending off the only two break points she faced all evening.
Zarina Diyas or Kiki Bertens awaits for Muguruza in the fourth round as she aims for a second trip to the last eight in Melbourne.