MADRID (AP) — Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins won the last eight games to advance to the second round of the Madrid Open with a 7-5, 6-0 victory over Monica Puig on Friday.
Puig, the Olympic gold medalist in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, is returning to action following shoulder and bicep surgeries. The 28-year-old Puerto Rican appeared in only four matches since her first major surgery in 2019.
“You never know what to expect when someone’s been out for a while, and they’ve been working on some things,” the sixth-seeded Collins said. “You don’t know what type of game style that they’re going to play, so it was a little bit tricky trying to anticipate what she was going to do. I think she played at a super-high level, especially in the first set, and gave me a lot of challenges, so I really needed to just find my rhythm on the court.”
Collins also missed matches this season because of injury, including a neck ailment that she picked up during her quarterfinal run in Miami.
“When you go a little period where you aren’t playing some matches, you almost feel a little bit rusty,” the 28-year-old American said. “I just needed to be patient and try to get myself back into it.”
Another American to advance was 12th-seeded Jessica Pegula, who beat Camila Giorgi 7-5, 2-6, 7-5. Madison Keys was eliminated 7-6 (8), 3-6, 4-6 against fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari.
Seventh-seeded Garbine Muguruza, one of the home-crowd favorites in the Spanish capital, defeated Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5, 6-2, while Leylah Fernández, the U.S. Open runner-up last year, beat Andrea Petkovic 6-1, 1-6, 6-4.
Jil Teichmann handed three-time Madrid champion Petra Kvitova her first loss in the first round at the tournament since 2010.
In a match between promising 19-year-olds, wildcard entry Marta Kostyuk beat Clara Tauson 6-3, 6-2.
Top-ranked Iga Swiatek withdrew from the clay-court tournament on Wednesday because of a sore arm.
The men’s first round begins next week, with both Rafael Nadal and top-ranked Novak Djokovic participating.