Double Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza took teenaged Coco Gauff to school on the clay, defeating the American hope 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-3 to move into the third round of the Rome Masters.
The Thursday comeback in front of empty stands at the quarantined, locked-down Foro Italico marked the third straight opening defeat for the 16-year-old challenger.
It came 48 hours after Gauff played her first career match on the surface at the WTA level.
Gauff, managed by Roger Federer’s Team8, is billed as the Next Big Thing for the US with the Williams sisters fading away, but her game is some years away from making a permanent impression.
Muguruza, winner of Roland Garros and Wimbledon titles and a former WTA No. 1, needed two and a half hours to come from a set down to take victory on the clay.
She broke five times in a match where the opening set lasted for almost an hour.
Gauff tossed out winning chances in the third set with a run of three double-faults – from a total of 15 on the day – which opened the door for her more experienced opponent.
Two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova also advanced, putting out Estonian Anett Kontaveit 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 with eight aces and six breaks of serve.
I’m just thinking of leaving Rome hopefully with a trophy or playing as many matches as possible,” Muguruza said.
“I don’t have that much expectation after not playing for such a long time. The US Open was short (two rounds)
“I know there is no crowd, it’s a little bit difficult for me because I love it here and the Italian fans are so loud – you can feel them.”
Main Photo:- Garbine Muguruza wins in Rome. by WTA tennis.com