Call it Garcia “serre-game”! For two weeks now, counting her title last week in Bad Homburg, Caroline Garcia has not only lost a match, but she also has this characteristic gift of people in full confidence to get out of the tightest matches. She proved it again this Friday at Wimbledon by dominating the Chinese Shuai Zhang (7-6 (3), 7-6 (5) in 1h54) to qualify for the round of 16, her first Grand Slam since Roland- Garros 2020.
If her name is not particularly high-sounding in the ears of the general public, Shuai Zhang (33 years old and propelled seed n°33 after the withdrawal of Madison Keys) is a formidable client on grass, quarter-finalist here in 2019 Caroline Garcia knew this and feared her all the more since the Chinese had beaten her at the start of the season in Lyon, in the semi-finals, before winning the title.
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Forewarned woman is forearmed. It did not exempt “Caro” from a small ignition delay with a conceded break from the start (0-2), immediately recovered. Rebelote and at the worst time at 4-4 in this 1st set: Zhang broke again and served for the set at 5-4. And this time again, the Frenchwoman came back immediately with a subtle little winning backhand volley.
Because yes, Caroline Garcia was still extremely offensive, and even more than ever (34 nets, for 25 points scored!), especially in important moments. That’s how she went to get the first set tie-break. It was also like that that she went for the victory after a new tie-break, at the very end of an extremely disputed 2nd set devoid of the slightest break, something rather rare in women’s tennis and perfectly revealing the harshness (and quality) of the fight.
Marie Bouzkova in 8th: The dream is allowed
“I was ready for this fight against Zhang, I was very aggressive in the two tie-breaks, I believed in myself and that’s how I managed to make the difference”, declared with a smile Caroline Garcia who also again served magnificently with 16 aces on the clock, including a very precious shot from 5 points everywhere in the last tie-break.
In the wake of her title in Bad Homburg, Caroline Garcia thus aligns an eighth consecutive victory, something she had not done since her famous Asian tour in 2017 (double Wuhan / Beijing), which had propelled her into the top 5 worldwide. It will also and above all be her first escapade in the round of 16 of a Grand Slam since Roland-Garros 2020. She will face the young Czech Marie Bouzkova (23), who fell for Danielle Collins in the 1st round. On paper, nothing that can prevent Caroline Garcia, more sure of herself and liberated than ever, from continuing to dream.
Saturday’s program: Cornet challenges Queen Swiatek on 1, Tan then Gasquet on 2
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A return to the 3rd round which is pleasing: we all stand up for Gasquet!
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