Muguruza coolly dismisses Kuznetsova

 - Alex Sharp

The 2016 Roland-Garros champion took her winning streak against Kuznetsova to six with a stellar display.

Garbine Muguruza sent a signal of intent with a 7-6(0) 6-2 victory over fellow former Roland-Garros champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in their highly-anticipated first round clash on the iconic No.1 "Bullring" Court on Tuesday.

It was far from a comfortable clay-court campaign for the Spaniard, who headed to Paris after an opening-round loss in Rome during which she surrendered two match points to Daria Gavrilova.

However, Muguruza was boosted by winning her past five meetings against world No.43 Kuznetsova - including on en route to victory at Roland-Garros in 2016.

“I'm happy, it’s good to have this match in the pocket. Was a very difficult first round, more of a second-week match” stated the 24-year-old. “I think Svetlana is an expert in clay and here, and I'm happy because it's going to help me a lot, I think, this match.

“The last matches I lost the results were very tight. I know that sometimes I'm going to be more lucky than others, and that's what I was thinking this time. I know that there was a key point where I turned the situation around, and the first set gave me more confidence. And I think the match today was a good one.”

The third seed immediately hit her stride, arrowing a backhand down the line to chalk up an instant break.

She canvassed the net at any chance, perhaps looking to shorten the points in the heavy Parisian drizzle. It was effective; she rushed the Russian with a collection of drive volleys to open up a 3-1 lead.

The 2009 champion Kuznetsova, featuring in a 16th successive French Open, finally cracked the Muguruza defence and rocketed a backhand winner off the back foot to score the break back.

Yet with another break in hand, Muguruza served for the set at 5-4, only for wayward strikes into the net seeing her surrender the chance moments before the showers halted play.

The world No.3 burst back from the rain delay in inspired form. With the opening set hauled into a tie-break, a fizzing inside-out forehand winner set the tone for a supreme exhibition of controlled power play from Muguruza, who stormed through the breaker without losing a point.

In the second set, Kuznetsova managed to fend off four break points at 0-1, while Muguruza continued to apply the pressure, her drive volley doing the damage.

The Spaniard continued to soar up the court with efficient net play, ending with an impressive 23-from-32 success rate, and earned the decisive break for 3-1 with a line-skimming forehand.

Muguruza will tackle a home prodigy in the second round after French wildcard Fiona Ferro sauntered past Carina Witthoeft 6-4 6-2.

“I'm feeling pretty good. I have been training hard, and I didn't play a lot of matches. So when you don't play a lot of matches, at least you have the time to practice and put things together,” reflected the two-time Grand Slam champion, who is hoping for another deep run to vie for the title in Paris.

“You have to put together so many things to be able to win a tournament like this. But for now I'm just concentrating on these first rounds that are very difficult, like today, and I'll go from there.”