Muguruza, who finished on a high in 2021 by winning the season-ending WTA Finals, had a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Clara Burel, a 20-year-old from France who is ranked 77th, to open play on Rod Laver Arena on Day 2.
A two-time major winner and runner-up in Australia in 2020 to Sofia Kenin — who was a first-round loser on Monday — Muguruza said she’s extra cautious early in a big tournament.
“I am aware, I am aware,” Muguzura said, laughing, when asked if she knew her Melbourne Park streak. “Very tricky. You’re always nervous going out there on Rod Laver, which I love, and starting a Grand Slam campaign. I’ve always gone through the first round.
“Very happy the way I played and, of course, controlling the nerves.”
Third-seeded Muguruza will next play French veteran Alize Cornet, who beat Viktoriya Tomova 6-3, 6-3.
Seventh-seeded Iga Swiatek, the 2020 French Open champion, opened with a 6-3, 6-0 win over 123rd-ranked British qualifier Harriet Dart.
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova lost to Sorana Cirstea of Romania for the second straight year, this time 6-2, 6-2 in the first round.
“Yeah, I think that she likes my game, that she just is going for it,” Kvitova, an Australian Open finalist three years ago, said. “I did have some health issues the whole month, as well, so it was tough to practice during home month.
“But the season is long, so I hope that it will turn around.”
Also advancing were No. 19 Elise Mertens, who beat Vera Zvonareva 6-4, 7-5, and former U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur, who rallied to beat Robin Anderson of the U.S. 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-3 to start her 20th Australian Open campaign.
In early men’s results No. 13 Diego Schwartzman beat Filip Krajinovic 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 and No. 27 Marin Cilic beat Emilio Gomez 6-3, 6-1, 6-2.
Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev was due to start his bid to win a second consecutive Grand Slam singles title when he played Henri Laaksonen in an afternoon match on Rod Laver Arena.
Medvedev, the runner-up in Australia last year, ended Novak Djokovic’s bid for a calendar-year Grand Slam in 2021 with his victory in the U.S. Open final. With Djokovic out of the Australian Open, deported because he failed to meet Australia’s strict COVID-19 vaccination rules, Medvedev is among the favorites.