Holder Muguruza stamps some star-appeal on Paris

  |   Sports

Roland Garros breathed a sigh of Gallic relief on Friday when defending champion Garbine Muguruza navigated her way through a draw bereft of star appeal to reach the French Open fourth round.

With pregnant Serena Williams absent, Maria Sharapova denied an invitation and top seed Angelique Kerber a first-round casualty, familiar faces are relatively thin on the ground in Paris, and Muguruza's 7-5 6-2 win over Kazakh Yulia Putintseva was greeted warmly by fans on the Philippe Chatrier court.

With rain and storms forecast for later on Friday, Muguruza will be pleased to have booked her passage with the minimum of fuss, although if Mladenovic is her opponent in the fourth round she can expect an entirely different reception from the locals.

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