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Muguruza rallies to edge past McHale, reach Miami Open third round

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Miami:  Spanish tennis star Garbiñe Muguruza shook off a first-set drubbing and staved off a match point in the second set before narrowly defeating American Christina McHale 0-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 in a rain-interrupted second-round contest at the Miami Open.

The world No. 6 got off to a nightmarish start in her opening match at this hard-court WTA Premier Mandatory event, falling behind 6-0, 3-2 Thursday night before play was postponed to Friday due to rain, reports Efe.

Both women seemed to be adversely affected by the gusty conditions when the match resumed early Friday afternoon, with the second set coming down to a tiebreaker after five consecutive service breaks.

McHale then came close to wrapping up the contest when she rallied from a mini-break down to give herself a match point in the tiebreaker, but Muguruza saved it and then forced a decider.

The third set featured some more irregular play and three more service breaks before Muguruza finally took control and wrapped up the victory with an ace on match point.

The 2016 French Open champion double-faulted six times and was broken on seven occasions, but she showed she could overcome adversity and tough weather conditions to win a match when she was far from her best.

In the other second-round women’s singles action on Friday, promising American wild card Taylor Townsend rolled to a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Italian No. 25 seed Roberta Vinci; Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova, runner-up at last week’s Indian Wells event, routed Luxembourg’s Mandy Minella 6-2, 6-2; and third-seeded Romanian Simona Halep overcame rising Japanese star Naomi Osaka 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.

Croatian-Australian wild card Ajla Tomljanovic continued her strong comeback from a shoulder injury by stunning last week’s Indian Wells champion, 13th-seeded Russian Elena Vesnina, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, while American No. 8 seed Madison Keys trounced Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic 6-1, 6-2.

In the second-round men’s singles action involving top players, Canadian No. 3 seed Milos Raonic defeated Serbian Viktor Troicki 6-3, 7-5 and Croatian No. 7 seed Marin Cilic was upset by Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 4-6, 6-2, 3-6.

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