LONDON, Great Britain - Last year’s champion Garbine Muguruza got her Wimbledon title defense off to a winning start after taking down British wildcard Naomi Broady in straight sets.
Muguruza, who is attempting to become just the sixth woman in the Open Era to defend the Wimbledon crown, silenced a partisan Centre Court with the 6-2, 7-5 victory over Broady after just over an hour and 30 minutes.
“The atmosphere [on Centre Court] was good, I know I was playing a British player,” Muguruza admitted in press. “I think the crowd was very fair, very equal. It's always good to go out there, it's one of the most beautiful courts.
“I think it was a good match. I'm pleased with how it went. I know she's kind of a different player. Never easy to face those opponents that play a little bit different. I'm happy about that.”
The No.3 seed took advantage of a nervy start from the Brit to break in the very first game and open up a 3-0 lead. The Centre Court crowd roared as Broady finally got on the scoreboard - she seemed to finally regain her composure and gave Muguruza plenty of variety to throw the Spaniard off her rhythm.
But Muguruza was unbothered, continuing to employ her fast and flat game to great success. She grabbed a second break at 5-2 to take the opening set after dragging Broady from side to side and blasting a forehand past her.
Broady fired back to back aces to hold serve after a marathon second game of the second set, and the small victory seemed to galvanize her. The Brit played with confidence - much to the delight of her home crowd, and to Muguruza’s frustration - and she refused to fade away under Muguruza’s high-octane assault.
But despite her best efforts, Broady’s big serve was constantly under fire by Muguruza, who created seven break chances across four games during the set. She finally broke through in the final game, breaking to love to close out her first match as defending champion.
Up next, Muguruza will face Alison Van Uytvanck in the second round - the Belgian eased past Polona Hercog in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2.
“I played against her, but a long time ago,” Muguruza said. “I think she's a very talented player. I think she actually likes grass. She has great shots. I think she has a very good serve. She won today pretty comfortable on paper.
“Like all the matches in this surface, it's a little bit unpredictable. I'm looking forward to keep what I'm working on, feeling prepared.”