Wimbledon | Garcia battles past Zhang to face Bouzkova next

Caroline Garcia came through 2 tight tiebreak sets to upset Zhang Shuai, the 33rd seed from China, on No 3 Court at Wimbledon on Friday, and the Frenchwoman advances to the Last 16 where she will meet Czech Marie Bouzkova, who took out American Alison Riske-Amritraj, the No 28 seed.

I came from Germany and won matches there. The most important thing is to keep winning, and push your limits every time. A little pain never killed anybody. Caroline Garcia

Garcia, who won the WTA 250 tournament in Bad Homburg last weekend, saw off Britain’s Emma Raducanu in straight sets on Wednesday, and extended her grass-court win streak to 8 matches on Day 5 of The Championships.

The Frenchwoman is back in the 4th round at Wimbledon for the first time since 2017 after defeating Zhang, 7-6(3) 7-6(5) in the 3rd-round.

“I was waiting for the battle against Shuai,” Garcia said on court. “She won a couple of times in the past against me.

“She’s a great player and, most importantly, she’s one of the nicest persons on tour. She was so happy for me at the end of the match.

“I just really stayed focused, played one point at a time.

“Every game was tight. It could change very quickly. I was very happy with how I played the two tiebreak sets, very aggressive.”

Garcia came into the match looking to level her 1-2 head-to-head and avenge her February loss to Zhang in the semi-finals of Lyon.

Carrying the confidence and clarity she showed in her 2nd-round victory over Raducanu, Garcia powered her way to the win by serving big and attacking the net.

Zhang served for the opener at 5-4 but was broken without having earned a set point, and Garcia continued her attacking play in the tiebreak, winning 2 key points at the net to build a 5-2 lead and close out the set after 50 minutes.

Garcia, who arrived on court with both her thighs strapped, took a medical timeout after the set to address her upper leg.

“I came from Germany and won matches there,” Garcia said later. “The most important thing is to keep winning, and push your limits every time. A little pain never killed anybody.”

Neither player broke serve in the second set, although both had their chances.

After Garcia saved 4 break points early in the set, Zhang responded by saving 2 with a pair of un-returnable serves in the 3-3 game.

The second tiebreak was locked at 5-5 before Garcia found her 16th ace of the day to earn match point, and she closed out the match after an hour and 54 minutes as Zhang put a final backhand into the net.

Garcia fired a total of 16 aces in the match, while Zhang hit just 3, and won 25 of 34 points at the net, finishing with 40 winners to 27 unforced errors against the Chinese’s 26 winners to 18 miscues.


Marie Bouzkova upset Alison Riske-Amritraj, the No 28 seed, to reach the Last 16 for the first time

© Julian Finney/Getty Images

Garcia, whose run of 8 matches is her first since winning the Wuhan-Beijing double in 2017, will play Bouzkova in the Round of 16.

Bouzkova, who is ranked 66, advanced to her first 4th round at a Grand Slam after defeating 2019 quarter-finalist Riske-Amritraj, 6-2 6-3, in the 3rd-round, sealing a fantastic opening week for the 23-year-old Czech.

Along with 28th-seeded Riske-Amritraj, Bouzkova also defeated the No 9 seed Danielle Collins, 5-7 6-4 6-4, in the first round for her second Top 10 win of the season.

Bouzkova won over 68% of her service points against Riske-Amritraj, saving all 4 break points she faced in the encounter.

It was a clinical performance from the counter-punching Czech, who hit 16 winners to 11 unforced errors, while the American struggled to find a way past her defences, as Riske-Amritraj struck 15 winners and 23 unforced errors.

Bouzkova had yet to make the 3rd-round of a major before this week, and her success at Wimbledon comes after a spate of bad luck at Roland Garros where she was forced to withdraw ahead of the 2nd-round after testing positive for Covid.





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