The upsets continued at 2018 Wimbledon as sixth seed Caroline Garcia was sent packing by Belinda Bencic 7-6 (3), 6-3 in the first round. The Swiss scored her second major victory at a Grand Slam this season following her opening round defeat of Venus Williams at the Australian Open.
While Garcia was dictating the points as evidenced by her 26 winners to Bencic's 17, but 24 unforced errors proved costly with the Swiss only committing 15. The Frenchwoman also failed to capitalize on her break chances, taking only one of four opportunities.
Bencic claims opening set in a tiebreak
Bencic got off to a quickfire lead, breaking in the opening game as the Garcia backhand, such a normally reliable shot, misfired and a hold consolidated the Swiss' lead, making it 2-0.
The Frenchwoman began firing off some forehands that ultimately helped her get the break back in the sixth game to level the score at 3-3.
After a hold to lead for the first time, the sixth seed held three break points on the Bencic serve at 0-40, but was unable to capitalize on any of her chances, the former top tenner escaping with a hold for 4-4.
Both players held fairly quickly and comfortably for the remaining four games to send the set to a tiebreaker. Much like the start of the set, it was Bencic who got out to an early lead, winning the first four points.
At 5-2, Garcia was clearly feeling the pressure and a double fault brought up four set points for the former junior champion at the All-England Club. A backhand dumped into the net by Garcia sealed the set for Bencic.
Bencic completes the upset in straight sets
Both players were starting to find their range on the returns as each of the first five games went to 30, but neither woman could find the breakthrough with Bencic holding a 3-2 lead.
The next game proved to be pivotal as Garcia committed a string of unforced errors, gifting the break at love to the world number 56 for a 4-2 lead. She won her next service game to love, claiming eight straight points for a 5-2 lead.
The struggles continued as Bencic held a match point on Garcia's serve, but the Frenchwoman staved off elimination temporarily with a forehand winner, going on to hold. She got to 30-30 on the Swiss' service game
"Playing smart" key to victory for the Swiss
Following the win, Bencic said that The key to win the match was, for sure, I think, to play smart." While she felt "you know, I didn't think I played my greatest-ever tennis, but I think on grass it's not possible", she knew she needed to be prepared: You just need to be ready: you know, the serve, return, next shot, and just start the rally really good."
It's been a long climb back for the Swiss as she has battled multiple injuries over the past year, but she proclaimed to be injury-free: "I have zero concerns". She was even able to joke with reporters about it: "you know, guys, you always ask that and I say, 'Oh, it's good now,' and then I get injured again...I'm fine, I'm still here, I'm surviving, but let's not jinx it."