In their first-ever meeting, Caroline Garcia got the job done against Victora Azarenka to win in the second round of the Western & Southern Open. The Frenchwoman won 6-4, 7-5 to set up a showdown with the winner of Karolina Pliskova and Aryna Sabalenka.
Garcia Closes Deal Second Time Out
Azarenka secured the opening break of serve in the first game after Garcia knocked a backhand long. The Belarusian looked to get in control after holding and moving for a chance to go up two breaks of serve. The Frenchwoman held on, however, to keep herself from trying to overcome a massive deficit.
The former world number one gave the break back in the fourth game after saving a break point but a forehand error which she thought she had converted leveled the set at two apiece.
The eighth game proved to be vital with Garcia flying out to a 0-40 lead after Azarenka's forehand clipped the top of the net to send it wide. The Belarusian fought back to get it to 30-40, but a forehand error allowed the sixth seed to serve for the set.
She was unable to get the job done, double-faulting down 15-40 to concede the break back. It was now Azarenka's turn to serve in a tight moment, trying to stay in the set. She was unable to convert both her chances to level the set at five-all, allowing Garcia to pound a backhand return winner for set point. Azarenka could not save it, which allowed Garcia to take the set 6-4.
Azarenka Can't Seal The Deal
Early parts of the second set were dominated by the server bar the fifth game which had seen Garcia go through a few deuces before holding. The following game saw tense moments when Garcia had a 0-30 opening after Azarenka's forehand go long. The 29-year-old Belarusian battled back though to hold and battled to break at 30 after the 24-year-old knocked a backhand into the net.
Garcia just held on for 4-5 with Azarenka to serve for the set. You could still sense that the 29-year-old had not found her best form yet, missing short balls she'd usually put away. Down 15-40, Azarenka found an ace to move within a point of deuce but she knocked a backhand into the net to give the break to Garcia.
Garcia held for 6-5, putting the pressure squarely on Azarenka who found herself down 15-40. The Belarusian knocked her second serve feet long, giving Garcia the victory.