WUHAN, China - Top seed Garbiñe Muguruza closed out Tuesday's night session at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open with a fast start and a strong finish during a 6-4, 6-4 win over Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko.
"I’m pleased," she said after the match. "The first round is never easy, and the conditions are hard; it’s very humid and warm. I got through, and I’m happy I won in two sets."
The WTA World No.1 has played some of her best tennis at Wuhan since the event's inception, stunning Simona Halep in 2014 and finishing runner-up to Venus Williams the next year en route to her debut appearance at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
"It’s not as different as before," she said of being the 24th woman in WTA history to ascend to No.1 in the world. "I’m just trying to take my first rounds very seriously, because everyone’s playing so well. So many top players have been beaten this week, so it’s always tough. But I’m happy in the third round."
Already guaranteed a third straight appearance in Singapore, the reigning Wimbledon hasn't taken her foot off the gas, reaching the semifinals of the Toray Pan Pacific Open and winning the first four games against Tsurenko.
The 2016 Guangzhou champion steadied after the slow start, getting to within one point of winning four straight games of her own, and kept things close over two tight sets that ended after one hour and 46 minutes of play.
Serving well throughout, Muguruza enjoyed a 71% first serve percentage, winning 73% of those points, and converted three of seven break point opportunities while saving three of the four she faced on her own serve to book a third-round clash with Polish qualifier Magda Linette, who shocked Katerina Siniakova, 6-1, 6-2.
"I think she’s playing very well this year," Muguruza said of Linette. "I’ve seen her play a few good matches. She’s in the third round, and it’ll be our first meeting. I hope it’ll be a good match."