Garbine Muguruza’s hours on the court over recent weeks continued to pay dividends on Saturday as the double Grand Slam winner reached the third round of the WTA 500 event in Abu Dhabi.

The Spanish fifth seed who reached the Australian Open final last year and took a loss there to Abu Dhabi top seed Sofia Kenin, booked her spot in the Gulf with a 6-1, 6-4 defeat of Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

The 90th-ranked Belarus player was broken seven times in less than 90 minutes as Muguruza played her first event since early October in Paris.

Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion Muguruza is competing in doubles this week as she puts final polish on preparations for the lockdown edition of the Open in Melbourne; the 14-day quarantine for the first major of 2021 begins next weekend.

“I don’t have big expectations for this week, just getting matches and adding hours on court,” the fifth seed said.

“Tis is training mode for the Australian Open, I’m putting in the hours – even if I’m feeling tired sometimes in matches, 

“It’s time for the last push, getting the feeling of competition back.”

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