After a first-round exit last week at the bett1open, there was no repeat for Garbiñe Muguruza on Monday at the Rothesay International Eastbourne. The former Wimbledon champion, the No.5 seed at the WTA 500 event, earned her first grass-court win in nearly a year with a 6-1, 7-6(7) defeat of Poland's Magdalena Frech.
After a first set that lasted just over a half hour, Muguruza was pushed hard in the second set by world No. 92 Frech, the third-highest ranked Polish player. From 6-1, 3-1 down, Frech got the second set back on serve, was ahead for much of it on serve from then on, and battled back from a big deficit in the tiebreak. Muguruza won the five of the first six points, but ultimately needed four match points to secure a 1 hour, 42-minute victory.
Since winning the AKRON WTA Finals in Guadalajara, Mexico to end 2021, the two-time major-winner has struggled. The win against Frech is just her third win in a WTA event since February. She's playing Eastbourne for a third time in her career.
Words from the winner: "The conditions were hard today. I feel like I fought hard against the wind, and I haven't played many matches on grass either," Muguruza said in victory. "I could see today that if I didn't fight as hard as I can, I wasn't going to win."
Muguruza next faces the winner of the second round match between No. 12 seed Camila Giorgi of Italy and Canadian lucky loser Rebecca Marino. Marino got the better of Great Britain's Heather Watson, also a lucky loser, in Monday's Round 1, 7-6(1), 6-4.
Linette outlasts Riske in 3-hour, 9-minute epic
Frech's compatriot Magda Linette opened play on Centre Court earlier Monday with a marathon win over No.17 seed Alison Riske. The 66th-ranked Linette came from a set down to outlast Riske, ranked 31 spots above her, in a staggering 3 hours, 9 minutes, 6-7(3), 6-3, 7-6(4).
Rivalry record: In the pair's third meeting in 2022, Linette was also a break down twice in the final set. She's now beaten Riske twice this year after losing their first three matches in a head-to-head that dates back to 2017. To do so, she hit a staggering 52 winners in victory to go along with 11 aces, and saved 11 of the 13 break points she faced.
The match is tied for the sixth-longest main draw match on the Hologic WTA Tour so far this year.
Vekic, Tsurenko keep good form from qualifying
Former World No.19 Donna Vekic and former World No.23 Lesia Tsurenko both know their way around a grass court: Vekic reached the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2018, while Tsurenko had a best-ever run to Round 3 a year prior.
After lengthy struggles with injuries, though, both are now far off their career-best rankings—but each showed glimpses of her best in Round 1 wins in Eastbourne after successfully navigating the qualifying rounds.
Vekic lost just two games in beating Tsurenko's Ukrainian compatriot Dayana Yastremska, 6-0, 6-2, in 57 minutes, while Tsurenko outlasted Colombia's Camila Osorio in 2 hours, 11 minutes, 7-5, 7-6(2).
Tsurenko needed six set points to win an opening set where she led 5-3, and saved a set point in the second set with Osorio serving for it at 5-4.
Tsurenko is the next opponent for No.9 seed Elena Rybakina, while Vekic faces No.14 seed and two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova.