Former champion Garbine Muguruza suffered a second consecutive first-round exit at the French Open, biting the red dirt in a 2-6 6-3 6-4 loss to Estonian Kaia Kanepi on Sunday as she conatinued on her downward trend.
Muguruza, who lifted the Suzanne Lenglen Cup in 2016 and reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros two years later, was in cruise control in a one-sided first set before Kanepi ground her way back into the match.
The decider was close but the 36-year-old Kanepi, who has reached the last eight in all the Grand Slam tournaments, took her chances and prevailed when Muguruza made an unforced error.
Muguruza finished last year on a high, winning the WTA finals, but the world number has had a dreadful 2022, managing consecutive wins only once.
The 28-year-old Spaniard was at a loss to explain her decline.
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“It is very hard, in the end. You have nothing guaranteed. The fact that you finished the year, the previous year well doesn`t guarantee that you`re going to start the year playing at the same level,” Muguruza told a news conference.
“You`ve got to work and you`ve got to fight for it. We all know that every year is different and so far just working through it.
“It`s been a tough season though. I mean, I`ve had matches so much in control, but then I don`t manage to close and it gets complicated and then a match is a match and at the end there`s only a winner. But I feel that I`m training hard, I`m putting the work.
Muguruza is, however, confident she can turn things around.
“I`m playing tournaments, trying to switch those moments, try to get more confident,” she said.
“So we`re going to keep doing it. I mean at some point I`m a hundred percent sure that I`m going to go out there and get those wins that have been slipping away from me.”