She had already trembled when she entered the race; this time, Caroline Garcia ended up giving in. Opposed to Anna Blinkova (56ᵉ), who had already beaten her in three sets at the same stage of the tournament and on the same court four years ago, the seed number 5 lost once again (4-6 , 6-3, 7-5) in the second round of Roland-Garros, Wednesday May 31.
History, however, seemed set to not repeat itself. Acclaimed as soon as she entered the court, the Frenchwoman was incisive and made the break from the 3ᵉ game of the match. Solid and imperturbable, she maintained her lead throughout the set, which she concluded with an ace.
In a good-natured atmosphere, with many “Caro! Carol! » thrown from the stands and a fanfare that punctuated the changes of side, the Lyonnaise continued on her momentum and took the service of her opponent at the start of the second set. Then the wind changed.
“Things got a little jammed, I got tense. In the first set, I went all out in my choices, in my shots, analyzed the interested party after the match. Afterwards, I started to be passive. When I’m more wait-and-see, I find it harder to read the game and move around. I struggled to get out of it and when I did it was too intermittent. »
The powerful Russian, who had hitherto suffered adverse attacks, managed to impose her rhythm, pushing Caroline Garcia to force her shots and multiply the unforced errors. The Frenchwoman did try to pull herself together in the third set, but it was the recent finalist in Strasbourg (last week) who made the break first and seemed to be heading straight for victory.
This was without counting the burst of pride of the “local”, pushed by the 15,000 spectators on the central court. Caroline Garcia erased three first match points thanks to three winning shots before unbreaking. When serving for the match, a second time, at 6-5, the Russian was again scared. At the end of the suspense, after two hours fifty-one minutes of the match and her ninth match point: she ended up winning.
A disappointing 2023 season
Although seeded number 5 and best French chance (men and women combined), the Frenchwoman had not arrived at Roland-Garros in the best mood, having won only three matches in three tournaments on the ocher surface. But she wanted to be optimistic. In particular, because of the return of his trainer, Bertrand Perret. “He understands my style of play very well. He is very open in the way he trains me. (…) I have to be comfortable with my coach and this is the case with Bertrand. It’s important, because it affects my game.”, she had detailed, on May 26, a few days before the start of the tournament.
You have 59.38% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.