Muguruza wins season opener in Brisbane

World No 7 Garbine Muguruza has won her opening match of the season at the Brisbane International in Australia.

The 23-year-old Spaniard fended off a fierce challenge from local favourite Sam Stosur to emerge a 7-5, 6-7 (2-7) 7-5 winner after two hours and 47 minutes on court.

Stosur earned three set points during a tight first set, but Muguruza withstood the pressure and then pounced in the next game to claim a break of her own and seize the advantage. 

The second set saw the players exchange breaks midway through before Stosur got the better of her opponent in the ensuing tie-break to level the scores.

The Australian looked to have the edge after breaking again in the very first game of the third set, but Muguruza staged a late rally, regaining her lost break at 3-4 before earning two match points on Stosur's serve at 6-5, clinching the second to book her place in the second round. 

"When I saw I was playing Stosur in the first round, I said, 'Well, I have a tough match here,'" Muguruza said in the post-match press conference. "I think she played very well today; she served like a beast! I was not always at the maximum level, and I gave everything I had.

"I suffered during the whole third set, because she got the break in the first game. I was very happy when I got back to break and I said, 'Okay, this is my chance here. And I don't want to let it go.'

"So I was just trying to put the ball inside the court and do whatever I could to keep the point going."

Also advancing to round two were China's Shuai Zhang, who beat Laura Siegemund 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, and Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova, who was a 6-2, 6-4 winner over Louisa Chirico.

Other first-round winners on the day included Elina Svitolina, Roberta Vinci, Ashleigh Barty and Asia Muhammad.