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Muguruza and Kvitova cruise through in Birmingham

19 June 2018 22:33

Garbine Muguruza enjoyed a comfortable return to a grass court at the Birmingham Classic as she gears up to defend her Wimbledon title.

The Spaniard, who will be looking to defend her most recent grand slam crown in the coming weeks, was at ease in her opener against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, dropping just three games in a 6-1 6-2 success.

Muguruza may well hope for a tougher test next time out, against Barbora Strycova, having cruised through this clash inside an hour without facing a break point.

And she was not the only Wimbledon winner to progress, with two-time champion Petra Kvitova also comfortable in a 6-3 6-4 defeat of British favourite Johanna Konta.

Despite the comprehensive triumph, Kvitova felt she was tested by Konta and was pleased for the workout.

"We can expect some tough matches from the first round, which I think is good because you have to really show a great performance from the beginning," she said.

Second seed Elina Svitolina was worked rather more by Donna Vekic, who battled back from 6-1 3-1 down to level before falling short in a 6-1 3-6 6-1 loss.

Svitolina has not lost a first-round match since Madrid in 2017 and is now on 20 wins in a row in tournament openers, having ended the match by clinching five successive games.

Nottingham Open champion Ashleigh Barty overcame Oceane Dodin in straight sets but eighth seed Coco Vandeweghe lost to Petra Martic.

Alize Cornet and Julia Goerges are also through to the second round, beating Ekaterina Makarova and Maria Sakkari respectively.

At the Mallorca Open, top seed and 2016 champion Carolina Garcia required three sets to defeat  Hsieh Su-Wei, while the same was true of Victoria Azarenka versus Stefanie Voegele and 19-year-old Sofia Kenin against Kateryna Kozlova.

Defending champion Anastasija Sevastova saw off Svetlana Kuznetsova, but Angelique Kerber's clash with Alison Riske was halted at 1-1 in the third set due to fading light.

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