Muguruza lays down marker in WTA Finals opener
Aggressive Spaniard shows why she is generating so much buzz
There was a gentle shrug of the shoulders, a slight turn of the head: clockwise first, then in the opposite direction - just enough to make her ponytail wobble - and then Garbine Muguruza would walk back to the line.
The 22-year-old Spaniard beat Lucie Safarova 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in the White Group of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global last night.
But, more than her muted celebration after each point won, it was her zen-like reaction each time she fluffed her lines - and the contemplative yet sure-footed gait that followed - which seemed to hint at just why she is tipped to be the next big thing in the women's game.
"She was serving very well, pressuring me, going for her shots. The difference was self-confidence - even in key moments, she remained very strong... and she really just went for it," said the vanquished Safarova.
Tied at four games apiece in the second set, and 40-15 down on her own serve, Muguruza remained unflustered.
She padded to the line, and exploded into action - virtually launching into Safarova with powerful serves that clocked in at 175 km/h - to win that game and lead 5-4, before going on to win the tiebreak.
Earlier this year, Muguruza beat Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki and Agnieszka Radwanska en route to the Wimbledon final.
She may have lost to world No. 1 Serena Williams in straight sets in the final, but Muguruza broke into the top 10 of the women's rankings, and has not stopped climbing.
In the latest rankings, she has moved up to third, above Maria Sharapova and just behind Simona Halep.
And it does not look like she's satisfied.
"Well, I always had it in my mind that I could be up there... I think you must have it to be motivated, to have goals," said the leggy rising star.
"If I am No. 3, it's for a reason. I earned that place," she added.
"I don't know how far I can get in the rankings, but definitely I'm trying to be there, top, and not only to arrive, but also to try to stay there."
She still has to face two-time Grand Slam champion Petra Kvitova and Kerber - the sixth-seeded Kerber beat Czech fourth seed Kvitova 6-2, 7-6 (7/3) last night - but many favour Muguruza to top the group.
Muguruza lost to Safarova at the French Open earlier this year - the only other time the two have clashed - and the difference here, according to the Spaniard, was patience and decision-making.
"I'm making better choices, trying to wait for the perfect ball to really attack," she said.
"You can be aggressive and play (the ball) three metres out... I think you have to be aggressive, but in a good way."
It is clear that Muguruza has tremendous backing in Spain, with former world No. 1 Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario - who is here to play in the WTA Legends Classic - making sure to tell the gathered media at an earlier press conference the correct pronunciation of her compatriot's name. For the record it reads: Gar-bin-nye Mu-gu-ru-tha.
"I love the way she plays and her mentality," said Sanchez-Vicario.
"Expectations are great in Spain."
But the world No. 3 remains unfazed, saying: "I just like to see that I'm doing good things.
"If I keep going like this, it's because I'm on the right path."