Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza tamed Kirsten Flipkens 7-5 6-2 to reach the third round of the Rogers Cup on a blockbuster Wednesday at the Canadian hardcourt event with eight of the world’s top 10 in action.
Muguruza, the world number four, led the day-long parade of top seeds onto court and needed 85 minutes to dispatch the Belgian qualifier before turning the stadium over to newly-minted Czech world number one Karolina Pliskova who will play her first match as the top-ranked player against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Despite an unthreatening world ranking of 82, Flipkens represented a tricky first test for Muguruza with the Spaniard holding only a slight 3-2 edge in their head-to-head meetings.
Both players were making their third appearance at the Canadian event with Flipkens having found more success after advancing to the third round in 2013. Muguruza had managed just one match win in her two previous visits.
“It (first set) was tough, Kirsten is such a talented player… I’m very happy that I finally did it,” said Muguruza in a courtside interview. “I tried to reduce the mistakes I made in the first set and I was a little more lucky there, I just wanted it so much.”
Muguruza was tested during an uneven opening and served for the first set at 5-4 before double faulting to hand Flipkens a break.
The world number four hit back with a break of her own and then held serve to clinch the opening set, despite 30 unforced errors.
Muguruza looked much more like the player who dropped only one set on her way to the Wimbledon title after that and collected the early break in the second set to take control of the contest.
American teenager Catherine Bellis continued her brilliant form on the North American hardcourts by taking down eighth seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4 7-5 to reach the third round.
The 18-year-old arrived in Toronto after reaching the semi-finals last week at Stanford.