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By Chris Oddo | Wednesday May 17, 2017

Garbine Muguruza

Garbine Muguruza earned her first clay victory since last year's Roland Garros final to set up a round of 16 encounter with Julia Goerges.

Photo Source: Denis Doyle/Getty

A much-needed clay victory for Garbiné Muguruza came in the form of a 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory over Jelena Ostapenko on Wednesday in Rome.

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The Spaniard won her first match on the surface since she capped off her clay season in 2016 by defeating Serena Williams in the Roland Garros final. Muguruza had dropped her opening matches in Stuttgart (Kontaveit) and Madrid (Bacsinszky), so it was kind of imperative that she get the ball rolling in Rome, where she was a semifinalist last season.

Consider it mission accomplished.

It wasn’t easy.

Muguruza was broken four times and committed 17 unforced errors in the opening set (and won only nine of 29 points on serve) before gaining traction in a second set that saw her beat back three break points and win 11 of 17 second-serve return points to break Ostapenko twice.

It was more of the same in the third set as Muguruza reeled off the first four games and won 16 of 26 return points to break Ostapenko three times on four opportunities.

The World No.7 improves to 2-0 against Ostapenko. She defeated the Latvian in straight sets in the round of 16 at Rome last year.

Muguruza improves to 15-9 on the season and a tidy 8-2 in three-setters. She’ll move on to face Germany’s Julia Goerges in the round of 16.

Goerges got past Jelena Jankovic, 2-6, 7-6(2), 6-1.

No.2-seeded Karolina Pliskova was also a winner on Wednesday in Rome. The 25-year-old Czech won for the first time in three appearance at Rome, defeating American Lauren Davis, 6-1, 6-2, dropping just one first-serve point and saving all three break points she faced.

No.1-seeded Angelique Kerber (Kontaveit) and No.4-seeded Dominika Cibulkova (Makarova) failed to advance.


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