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By Erik Gudris | Tuesday, April 6, 2021

 
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Petra Kvitova and Garbine Muguruza each earned convincing opening round wins at the Volvo Car Open in Charleston.

Photo credit: Volvo Car Open/Chris Smith

After a long absence, Grand Slam champions Petra Kvitova and Garbine Muguruza are enjoying their return trips to Charleston as each earned convincing opening round wins at the Volvo Car Open.

Both hope a solid start on the green clay of the popular WTA event will translate to more success during the clay-court season. Kvitova and Muguruza have each played the Charleston event once before, but had not won a match there until today.

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No. 3 seed Kvitova found herself tested early in her encounter with Australia's Storm Sanders.

The first set went all the way to a tiebreak with neither woman able to secure a service break. Kvitova managed eventually to take the set 7-6(4) with help from 13 winners to just four from her opponent.

Tennis Express

Kvitova soon converted for her first break midway through the second set. The two-time Wimbledon champion soon cruised to a 7-6(4), 6-2 victory.

The win was especially special for Kvitova as it was her first-ever tour victory on green clay.




Kvitova, earlier in the week, admitted transitioning to clay from hard courts is tough for her. But she is looking to finding some good form this week in Charleston.

"It's been a quick transition from Miami already," Kvitova said. "I did hit on the green clay in Boca Raton a few times. I didn't have much time on it, but for me, it doesn't really matter. Perhaps it's better to not have much time to prepare," she added with a laugh.

Kvitova added, "Often it's more tougher for me mentally than physically to be on the clay. I was trying to slide a little bit more. But I'm not the kind of player who is going to slide through every point in the rally."

The sixth-seeded Muguruza, who last played the event in 2013, also enjoyed her first-ever win at Charleston. She secured a solid 6-1, 6-3 win over qualifier Magdalena Frech. The victory extends Muguruza's match wins to 21 this year, a tour leading stat.




"I'm happy that I got this win, that I fought hard, that I kept my fighting spirit through the whole match, also in the second set, which was tighter than the first set," Muguruza said afterward. "I'm pleased with that, very simple."


Muguruza will next face No. 11 seed Yulia Putintseva.

Other winners on the day included Americans Sloane Stephens and Shelby Rogers.

 

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