TORONTO, Canada - Wimbledon champion Garbiñe Muguruza got her Rogers Cup campaign off on the right foot on Wednesday, edging a tight first set before seeing off qualifier Kirsten Flipkens, 7-5, 6-2.
Though the No.4 seed twice led by a break in the opening set, she was pegged back to 5-5 by Flipkens, but found her feet in the ensuing games and won eight of the last 10 played in the match.
"I felt that I had a lot of opportunities during the [first] set and I felt like I didn't use them," Muguruza assessed. "I tried not to be very frustrated, tried to play concentrated and kept thinking that I had another chance. I know that in every match, the first set is very important.
"When you have such a talented player with a different style [against you], you want to make sure that you don't lose concentration, are very focused, and just want to have everything under control... I knew that if I continued to play like this, more [chances] would come. That made the difference."
Muguruza scored her fourth win in six career meetings against the Belgian, all of which have come in straight sets, behind five breaks of serve and 28 winners - more than twice the number that came off Flipkens' racquet in the match.
The victory also proved to be Muguruza's first in Toronto. Making her third appearance at the Rogers Cup overall, the Spaniard was beaten in her lone previous appearance in the city in 2015, where she lost her second round match after a bye to Lesia Tsurenko.
"I never won a match here in Toronto, and I felt like I was missing too much. I felt after [I called my coach], I missed a little bit less," Muguruza said. "It's not magical, but I felt like it helped a little bit, those words. I think I always have ups and downs, and what keeps me concentrated is that I train hard, and come to a tournament ready to play.
"I'm concentrating a lot on working hard, not taking anything for granted. You have all these opponents that they just want to beat you, and they're playing well as well."
With the win, Muguruza will face another qualifier in Ashleigh Barty for a spot in the last eight, after she defeated No.16 seed Elena Vesnina, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in the second round.
The two played shortly before Muguruza won Wimbledon, as Barty rallied from a set down in the semifinals of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, to reach the final.