Spanish hope Garbiñe Muguruza struggled on her debut at Roland Garros on Monday, dropping the first set against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova before grinding out a victory on the Parisian red dust to reach the second round.
Muguruza, seeded fourth at the French Open, eventually defeated Schmiedlova 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. The Wimbledon runner-up, who has reached the quarter-finals for the last two years in Paris, will take on French wildcard Myrtille Georges, the world number 203, for a place in the last 32.
But the 22-year-old Wimbledon runner-up was far from impressive in the two and a half hour encounter. After dropping the first set, Muguruza had to save nine break points in the opening game of the second set.
She then allowed her 37th-ranked opponent, who had only won one match all year, to claw her way back from 0-4 down to 3-4 before the Spaniard settled herself to see out the win. Muguruza fired 44 winners and 53 unforced errors and also saved 17 of 21 break points.
“I like to watch my games afterwards, whether I won or lost,” Muguruza said. “I like to look at the body language, in which moments or why I lost certain points or what I did wrong. It really opens your eyes. Roland Garros is a special tournament in Spain, obviously because of Rafa and for the other Spanish players who have won it. Everybody dreams of winning Roland Garros. The Spanish School of Tennis is also on clay, so it’s the tournament everybody wants to win.”
Elsewhere in the women’s draw, Paraguay’s Verónica Cepede Royg scored the upset of the day when she beat former Wimbledon finalist and world number 30 Sabine Lisicki. Cepede Royg, who alternates between the WTA and ITF circuits, had only ever qualified for a Grand Slam once before, last year’s French Open, where she lost to Virginie Razzano in three sets.
On Monday, it took the world number 161 just 59 minutes to complete her first Grand Slam win against a player who has held the records for the fastest serve on tour and the most aces sent down in a season. Cepede Royg will go on to play 19th seed Sloane Stephens in the second round.
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