HUA HIN, Thailand -- No.1 seed Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain claimed a 6-3, 6-4 victory over German wild card Sabine Lisicki to advance to the second round of the Toyota Thailand Open presented by E@ on Tuesday night.
"It was a very tough first round," Muguruza admitted during her on-court post-match interview. "[Lisicki is] a Grand Slam finalist and she has a very powerful game, the fastest serves. So I’m very happy with this match."
In the first meeting between the two players, it was the 2017 Wimbledon champion who outplayed the 2013 Wimbledon finalist in the 79-minute match. Muguruza faced only two break points in the match, saving both. The combatants each had 15 winners in the encounter, but Muguruza had only 13 unforced errors, while Lisicki doubled that count with 26 miscues.
Former World No.1 Muguruza now finds herself in the second round, where she will face another German, Mona Barthel, who overcame Fiona Ferro of France in three sets on Monday. Barthel defeated Muguruza in a Challenger final in 2011, but Muguruza won their only WTA-level meeting, at 's-Hertogenbosch in 2013.
"We played, I think, a very long time ago, but she’s a great hitter as well," Muguruza said of Barthel. "So it’s going to be another tough match."
Muguruza had to fight from the outset, as the Spaniard needed to fend off two break points in the opening game of the match. However, the top seed eventually used her forehand to navigate her way through the opening game.
This proved to be instrumental as Muguruza was able to take control of the first set by breaking at 3-2, blasting a backhand winner beyond Lisicki’s reach on break point. That shot also served Muguruza well in the next game, as she crushed a winner off that wing down the line to hold for a 5-2 lead.
Lisicki did well to come up with some clutch booming serves to escape a set point and hold for 5-3, but that only prolonged the inevitable as Muguruza eased to a hold in the following game to clinch the one-set lead.
The second set was a near carbon copy of the first, as Lisicki acquitted herself well with her power game up to 3-3. But the German was unable to evade a break in that game, dropping her service after one of her forehands missed the mark long.
Muguruza eased to victory from there, reaching her first match point at 5-4 with a forehand winner, and closing out the match in the subsequent point after a jarring serve was returned long by Lisicki.
In other first-round evening results, Switzerland's Viktoria Golubic defeated Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain, 6-2, 6-4. Also, No.5 seed Zhang Shuai of China dispatched Thailand's Luksika Kumkhum, 6-2, 6-1, and Wang Yafan of China beat Russia's Anna Blinkova, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1. Chinese players went 4-0 on Tuesday after earlier wins by No.4 seed Zheng Saisai and qualifier Duan Yingying.