The Spanish third seed won the French Open in 2016 and Wimbledon a year later before a drastic dip in form sent her tumbling down the rankings.
But the 28-year-old enjoyed a resurgence last year, winning titles at Chicago and Dubai before clinching the season-ending WTA Finals in November.
She carried that form on to Rod Laver Arena against 77th-ranked Frenchwoman Clara Burel, proving too powerful in winning 6-3, 6-4 in 88 minutes.
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“I’m so motivated here, especially in the early rounds when you really want to get through,” said Muguruza, who has won all her opening-round clashes in Melbourne for the past 10 years.
“I’m aggressive on court and like to dominate. Very happy.”
Muguruza got an early break in the first set to take command with Burel dogged by poor serving and unforced errors, with the Spaniard breaking again in the ninth game.
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But Burel, who fell at the first hurdle in her two previous Australian Open appearances, kept battling in front of a sparse crowd.
Muguruza dictated the points early in the second set and earned a break in the fourth game to look set for a comfortable win, only for the plucky Burel to break back with an overhead smash as the Spaniard was serving for the match.
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It proved to be a short-lived fightback, with the top seed breaking straight back.
The former world number one’s best result at Melbourne Park was in 2020, when she finished runner-up to surprise winner Sofia Kenin. She lost to eventual champion Naomi Osaka in the fourth round last year after squandering match points.
She will next meet French veteran Alize Cornet.
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