The third round of the BNP Paribas Open saw Caroline Garcia creating a mini upset over Johanna Konta in three sets, with the match being decided in a final set tiebreak. Konta had multiple break point chances in both the second and final sets but was unable to convert on any of it to allow Garcia to have a way back and triumph eventually.
Konta cruises to winning the first set
A nervy start to the match saw Konta being brought to deuce before holding her serve narrowly in the opening game of the match, marking a great start to the match for Garcia who was unlucky to be unable to find a break point opportunity in the process. After an exchange of service holds, the fans finally witnessed the first break of serve in the match as Konta made the first breakthrough in the set, breaking serve in the fourth game to get the advantage and open up a 3-1 lead.
It was a very sloppy service game played by Garcia, whose powerful shots backfired as they became unforced errors, gifting Konta the early advantage. The Brit had no problems consolidating the break as she had yet another easy service hold, holding her serve comfortably for a 4-1 lead and looking to cruise through the set.
It seemed as if this match was a clinical serving display because what followed up was comfortable service holds with the receiver only able to win a maximum of one point in the games. Therefore, since there were no more breaks of serve, Konta successfully served out the first set 6-3 after just 33 minutes, being halfway from the victory.
The start of the second set was much tighter as the first two games of the set saw the receiver almost making a breakthrough, but was just unable to find a break point opportunity to do so. The first real opportunity to break serve came in the fifth game when Konta had two break points to go up a set and a break but failed to convert them as the Brit hit two consecutive backhand returns long, gifting the tense service hold to Garcia to remain on serve in the second set.
Konta would definitely rue the missed opportunity as she was outclassed just right in the next game, being broken to 15 and allowing the Frenchwoman to take the lead for the first time in the match. Finding herself 2-5 down after Garcia consolidated the break of serve, Konta maintained her composure and showed nerves of steel when she held serve while serving to stay in the set, saving three set points along the way. However, this did not shake Garcia’s momentum and confidence as she came up with some good serving in the next game, serving out the second set by the same scoreline after 45 minutes.
Garcia saves multiple break points; steals the victory at the last moment
The final set saw a momentum shift as the momentum was now with Konta, having a comfortable service hold to love to start the final set with and then following it up by earning two break points in her opening return game. Nevertheless, strong serves once again saved Garcia from the brink as Konta failed to return those serves and paved the way for Garcia to hold her serve narrowly. A second consecutive hold to love came by for Konta as the Frenchwoman looked uncomfortable being on the return, with nothing working for her in the return games. The next break point opportunity came soon in the sixth game as it was the Brit who earned it once again, hoping to make a breakthrough and take the lead.
Nevertheless, Garcia got third time lucky in the final set as Konta sent a forehand long, allowing Garcia to eventually hold serve and remain on serve. With nothing being able to separate both players on the scoreboard, the match was eventually brought to a final set tiebreak to decide its winner. Garcia played some inspired tennis in the tiebreak, jumping out to a 3-0 lead within a blink of an eye. Konta managed to get one point back on her serve as she narrowed the deficit to just two points, but from then on she lost her focus as the Frenchwoman strolled to the tiebreak victory with a 7-1 scoreline, outclassing her higher-ranked opponent in the 2 hours and 14 minutes match.