She could have collapsed after losing the second set in the tie-break, which she had nevertheless ideally started (4-0) before being caught and then inexplicably missing a high volley which would have allowed her to obtain match point at 6-6. But Caroline Garcia, despite the images of this redacted shot in the corridor which haunted her at the change of sides, tipped the third set on the right side with disconcerting ease against world number 3 Maria Sakkari (7-6 6-7 6-1), on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday in the second round of the WTA 1000 in Cincinnati.
On the heels of her successful performance against Croatian Petra Martic (6-3, 6-3) on Monday in the first round, the French deployed her aggressive entry game. Very effective on her commitments despite a lazy percentage of first serves during the first set (45%), with only four small points given up on her face-offs, she flew over the decisive game to take control of the game.
“I could lose the match, but if I lost it because I gave up in the third set, I would have blamed myself for several days”
A slight hollow at the start of the second set cost her a break and a 5-1 double break ball against her, but the 35th in the world, like her matches won in the qualifying fight against Diane Parry and Andrea Petkovic hung on. She came back up and touched the victory with her fingertips before making this terrible mistake at 6-6 and then seeing her backhand catch the tape of the net on the next point.
“Frankly, I have not been able to switch at all (after the loss of the second set), admitted Garcia in the players’ lounge after his scrubbing. The fly, I kept seeing it and seeing it again. I complicated my life to jump when I could slam it… It was difficult, I had had opportunities. But that’s tennis: you’re a hair’s breadth from winning and two minutes later you’re tied and you have to start all over again. »
However, the 28-year-old started the third set with the same intentions as during the previous two hours of play: from the first point, she rushed to the net. “I could lose the match, but if I lost it because I gave up in the third set, I would have blamed myself for several days.she explained. While continuing with the same attitude, I could win or lose but at least learn things. »
“I really managed to follow my game identity, my intentions, my aggression. I fought hard with myself to stay as calm as possible.
By dint of being put under pressure, especially on returns followed at the net by Garcia, Sakkari ended up cracking. The Greek made several big mistakes and offered the break to the French at 2-1, then the double break on a double fault at 4-1. Far too much against the former 4th in the world, offensive and precise, who will have managed 44 winning shots for 14 unforced errors.
“It was a really big game, very solidshe congratulated herself. I really managed to follow my game identity, my intentions, my aggression. I missed a few chances, but I fought well with myself to stay as calm as possible, not show the opponent that it was difficult and really keep going forward. »
In the third round on Thursday, Garcia will challenge the winner of the duel which will pit Czech Karolina Pliskova against Belgian Elise Mertens on Wednesday.