Caroline Garcia’s recent run of solid form continued to build at the Wuhan Open on Monday, with the Frenchwoman coming from a set down to defeat former world number one Angelique Kerber in the opening round of the Premier Five tournament.
Kerber, seeded 12th, would have been fairly confident heading in following a run to the last four in Tokyo last week and took the opening set in fine style, though Garcia in total hit 43 winners throughout the match and did not lose serve in either the second or third sets to seal a comeback 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory in an hour and 48 minutes on Centre Court.
Both women finished the match with positive numbers, with Kerber hitting 21 winners to 15 unforced errors and Garcia making only 19 unforced errors alongside her impressive number of winners, with that and her ability to save six of the eight break points against her crucial in determining the final outcome. She will face qualifier Christina McHale in the second round.
Impressive Garcia works her way back to seal victory
Like the German, Garcia had also been in action in Tokyo but fell in the last eight, and perhaps that extra day of rest proved to be key for the Frenchwoman as she eventually overpowered her opponent.
The opening stages of the match were evenly contested, with both women holding serve throughout the first six games. It was here, however, that Kerber made her move, breaking for a 4-3 lead and consolidating put herself just a game away from the first set. The 12th seed continued to impose herself on Garcia and broke for the second time to claim the opener after some very confident tennis.
A strong response was needed from Garcia, and the Frenchwoman got just that as she broke early on in the second set for a 2-1 lead, crucially saving four break points to consolidate and take a 3-1 lead. Missing those four chances would prove costly for the German, who was unable to generate any more break points in the set, and it was now Garcia imposing herself on the match, breaking for the second time when leading 5-3 to send the match to a decider.
Unlike Kerber in the second set, Garcia was able to maintain her momentum, breaking the German early on and saving one break point to consolidate and put herself just three games away from victory. The Frenchwoman was now in complete control, and took two more games in convincing style to take a 5-0 lead. Kerber was able to avoid the bagel, though Garcia was nerveless and comfortably served out an impressive victory.