Muguruza ensures Spain beat Italy on this grass

French Open champion Garbine Muguruza left her opening match a relieved second seed

It probably wouldn’t register as a scare on the Wimbledon scale of nearly upsets. But as insecure first matches on Centre Court go, last year’s beaten finalist and the French Open champion Garbine Muguruza left her opening match a

relieved second seed.

The Spanish six-footer, essentially a heavy-hitting counter puncher, just couldn't shake off Camila Giorgi until the third set of her 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 win.

Muguruza had the capacity to out-hit Serena Williams on the clay in Paris just weeks ago but 24-year-old Giorgi, a 67th ranked Italian wouldn't play ball and sweetly mixed up her game.

Bigger names

Muguruza was forced to cover the court, come in and move to the sides as Giorgi threw the entire locker at her. In the end it wasn’t enough from the Italian on a day when some of the bigger names inched forwards in the draw. It was pointed out afterwards that at least Spain came out on a winning side against Italy on a day when the football team departed the Euro stage.

Former winner Venus Williams, who at 36 years old is still ranked sixth in the world, fourth seed and semifinalist in 2012 Angelique Kerber, American hope Madison Keys and fifth seed Simona Halep came though their opening matches, all of them in two sets.

Ana Ivanovic, the 12th seed fell to Russia's Ekaterina Alexandrova, although these days on grass the Serb's departure barely registers as a major upset.

It will be all action Giorgi, who will leave the All England Club feeling most aggrieved and with just a few more more balls in and fewer out she could still be in the tournament. The error count was high.

“I think Wimbledon is a very tricky tournament,” said the Spaniard. “The grass . . . sometimes you’d be surprised. The matches are more equal. We have only a few tournaments to play [on grass].

“Today I had a very tough match but I am going to take the positives. Sometimes you don’t win very beautiful but sometimes you just have to be there fighting and waiting for your chances to win the match.”

The Muguruza serve from her large frame yielded more points and her big returns coughed up a significantly higher percentage of points.

The Spaniard also forced 19 break points and her failing there was that she converted just four of them, or, 21 per cent, quite a low return.

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson is a sports writer with The Irish Times

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