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Muguruza beats Zheng to find her clay feet in Rome before Roland Garros

AFP  |  Rome 

Former winner Garbine Muguruza warmed up for this month's clay-court at by easing into the second round of the Italian Open on Monday with a straight sets win over China's

Muguruza -- a former world number one now ranked 19th -- came through 6-3, 6-4 for her third win over 46th-ranked Saisai this season.

The 25-year-old Muguruza, who won the in 2016 and in 2017, has twice reached the semi-finals in Rome.

"It was a slow start but I'm happy because last week wasn't a good week for me," Muguruza, who exited in the first round, told the WTA website.

"I love Rome and it is very important for me to get as many matches as I can for the at the "

She next plays either Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki, the 11th seed, or American Danielle Collins, for a place in the third round.

It was not a good day for Chinese players at the Foro Italico with two-time champion crushing 6-2, 6-1, and next meets two-time defending Rome champion

Chinese 15th seed also fell to Czech 1-6, 7-5, 6-4. Former world number one returned from to book a rematch with her sister Venus, 21 years after they last met in Rome.

Four-time Rome winner Serena, 37, eased through 6-4, 6-2 against Swedish after nearly two months out with a

But 38-year-old Venus, whose only Rome title came back in 1999, needed more than three hours to battle past Belgian 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7/4).

The sisters last played each other in the quarter-finals in Rome in 1998, with the winner.

"I love the clay season and wanted to do everything to be a part of it," said Serena, who is one title short of Chris Evert's record of five Rome crowns.

"It's not about today or tomorrow. Obviously the slams, et cetera, just getting ready for those events," added the 23-time winner.

Former world number four Dominika Cibulkova, won her match 6-2, 6-3 against Aliaksandra Sasnovich, and next meets and winner of

Britain's swept aside 6-4, 6-1, and next plays Sloane Stephens.

Italian wildcard fell 6-1, 6-0 to Slovak US 18th seed Madison Keys, a semi-finalist in last year's French Open, beat Slovenia's Polona Hercog 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), and next meets fellow American

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 14 2019. 11:21 IST