Tenth-seeded double Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza got back into rhythm as the Geneva-based Spaniard recovered from an early hiccup to advance under the closed stadium roof at the US Open on Tuesday.
The former Roland Garros and Wimbledon winner dispatched Japan’s Nao Hibino 6-4, 6-4 in 89 minutes.
Muguruza now leads the series 3-0 against the No. 78, who got away to a quick break only to be pegged back.
Muguruza had been on a tear prior to the season pause in March as the virus pandemic took hold. playing the final of the Australian Open in January.
The quarantined New York event is her first since Doha in late February; she crossed the Atlantic after dealing with a minor ankle injury during the five-month tennis shutdown.
Muguruza closed out the opening set and broke to start the second as she won seven games on the trot after trailing 4-1 in the first set. The seed finished off victory with her 21st winner, an overhead.
“It’s hard also to get the body ready after such a long break,” Muguruza said. “You have to handle new things, feel good to go and play.
“It’s a very special Grand Slam this year without the crowd. They are making a great effort to make it happen, so I’m happy to participate, “Hopefully it’s not going to be like this forever..
“I was anxious because I didn’t play in the last six months and didn’t have a chance to play before the Open to get ready .
“I’m happy with my performance, I was expecting a tough match and it was (one).”.
American Sofia Kenin, the Australian Open winner seeded second, had a straightforward win over Belgian Yanina Wickmayer 6-4, 6-4
Ninth seed Johanna Konta triumphed in the first-round battle of the Brit, defeating Heather Watson 7-6(7), 6-1.
Konta fought off six set points in the opening set before dominating in the second. She next plays Romanian Sorona Criistea.
Konta held on to maintain her perfect career record against compatriots; she defeated Watson for a fourth time with 11 aces and 27 winners.
“Whenever you play a compatriot there is an extra level of anxiety and stress for a number of different reasons,” the winner said.
“I was anticipating that, expecting it, I just wanted to put that to one side and enjoy playing a really good player, competing well.”
Six time US Open champion Serena Williams beat compatriot Kirstie Ahn 7-5,6-3 in her opening match in search of the elusive 24th Grand Slam title.
After a slow start the No. 3 seed dished out 28 winners and served up 13 aces to come through in an hour and 21 minutes.
Serena now claims sole possession of a US Open win-loss record of 102-13, which she had previously shared with Chris Evert.
She has also been taken to three sets in every match since the second round of the 2020 Australian Open.
Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova, a WImbledon semi-finalist a decade ago, returned to the courts for the first time in more than three years after motherhood, beating Liudmila Samsonova 6-2 6-3.
Last week’s “Cincinnati” semi-finalist Elise Mertens reached the second round over German Laura Siegemund 6-2, 6-2 American Amanda Ansismova advanced 7-5, 7-5 over Viktoriya Tomova.