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Australian Open: Garcia escapes the Siegemund trap

Caroline Garcia found a way to beat Laura Siegemund (1-6, 6-3, 6-3) on Saturday to clinch a spot into the fourth round.

Caroline Garcia, Australian Open Caroline Garcia, Australian Open (AI / Reuters / Panoramic)
Australian Open β€’Third round β€’ completed
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Caroline Garcia, brilliant in the second round against Leylah Fernandez, showed that it was not a sure sign that she would now sail freely in that draw. On Saturday, The Frenchwoman suffered a quite terrible first set before righting the ship (1-6, 6-3, 6-3) against Laura Siegemund who is always very tricky to play.

The experienced German player perfectly took advantage of Garcia’s nerves at the start of the match to pocket the first set with some aggressive and inspired sequences. Put on the back, the World No. 4 then showed why she was among the favourites for the title here: she calmed down and raised her level considerably. Focused on what she does best, the WTA Finals champion found her first serve back and then her accuracy on her forehand. Finally, when the basis was back, she kept pushing up the pace.

Yet, the pressure was there until the end of that third match point because Garcia had already lost a break at the start of the match and Siegemund wasn’t giving up at all with her mix of net game and inspiration from the baseline. This match is anyway the proof that Garcia is walking her talk since this last US Open where she reached the semi-finals: under stress, she now has the tools to relax and get back to her game instead of panicking and sending unforced errors all over the place. Confidence helps of course, but obviously, all the work done since last year is still cementing those tools inside her brain.

She will now play the winner of the match between Pole Magda Linette and Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova, the No 19 seed. Let’s see if she gets back to the brilliance of the Fernandez match but, even if not, she proved today that she had many options to cover for the so-so days that could come. Every Grand Slam champion will tell you that this is indeed the biggest thing to achieve: winning when you’re not at you’re best. And that it’s when your confidence also starts to rise a lot.

“Yeah, it was a crazy battle. Didn’t play some great tennis, but very happy with the way I fought. Today with what I was capable of doing, the atmosphere was pretty unbelievable. It was a very good fight. Laura played some good tennis already the first two rounds and today as well. I’m very pleased to be through of the second week.”

Melbourne (Grand Slam), other third-round results (Melbourne Park, hard, USD 24.297.942, most recent results first):

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