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Muguruza moves into Open second round

Spanish third seed Garbine Muguruza says the Australian Open is the happy slam and she was certainly beaming after booking her berth in the second round.

The two-time grand slam champion had a comfortable win over French wildcard Jessika Ponchet, shrugging off injury concerns with a 6-4 6-3 victory in 84 minutes.

The 24-year-old won her first match at the Sydney International but then withdrew due to a hip problem, however against Ponchet she looked to be moving freely.

Murguruza took a while to find her groove against the unorthodox world No. 256, who had never played a grand slam match or even faced a top-100 player before.

With Ponchet hitting a one-handed backhand the pair traded early breaks before the reigning Wimbedon champion’s experience started to tell.

“I just tried to stay very concentrated,” said Murguruza, who made the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park last year in her best result at the tournament.

“I was very solid and didn’t lose any of my opportunities.”

Murguruza said she loved playing in Melbourne and hoped the joy continued against world No.88 Su-Wei Hsieh from Chinese Taipei.

“It’s the happy slam – everyone is always smiling and that’s not the same everywhere.”

Bidding to become the first Spanish woman to win the Australian Open, Muguruza can overtake Simona Halep for the No.1 ranking if she wins the final.

She held the mantle in September of last year and finished the year ranked second before being overtaken by Caroline Wozniacki last week.

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