Strycova routs Muguruza, Kerber grinds out victory
Former Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza's preparations for another tilt at the grass court grand slam were dealt a setback as she was trounced 6-1 6-0 by Barbora Strycova in the second round of the Aegon International on Wednesday.
Muguruza, a runner-up at the All England Club in 2015, had reached the semi-finals at the Aegon Classic, only to lose to Ashleigh Barty, but her first match on the south coast ended in an emphatic defeat.
Strycova needed just 61 minutes to wrap up victory, breaking Muguruza six times and dropping just 12 points on serve in a dominant display.
Struggling world number one Angelique Kerber was made to work hard in her first match since an opening-round defeat at the French Open but came through 4-6 6-1 7-5 against Kristyna Pliskova.
"It feels good, always the first rounds are tough," Kerber said. "I think it was a good match from both of us. She was serving very well and I was focusing on my return.
"At the end of the match I was focusing point-by-point and go for it if I had the chance, and I'm happy I'm through."
World number two Simona Halep, beaten in the final at Roland Garros, joined Kerber in the last 16 - also fighting back from a set down to see off Duan Ying-Ying 3-6 6-3 6-2.
With rain on Tuesday leading to a schedule backlog, Halep started her last-16 match against Tsvetana Pironkova, a winner over Monica Niculescu, but trails by a set and a break.
Johanna Konta, Caroline Wozniacki and Kristina Mladenovic had no issues in booking their places in the next round - claiming straight-sets wins over Sorana Cirstea, Naomi Osaka and Zhang Shuai respectively.
Svetlana Kuznetsova survived a scare as she beat Mona Barthel 4-6 7-5 6-2 and her Russian compatriot Elena Vesnina defeated lucky loser Veronica Cepede Royg 6-3 6-3.
There was another surprise, however, as Peng Shuai knocked out 15th seed Timea Bacsinszky 7-6 (9-7) 2-6 6-4.
Agnieszka Radwanska's second-round clash with Lauren Davis could also not be completed, the American a break up in the first set in the battle to meet Strycova.