Unseeded Caroline Garcia ran her grass-court winning streak to seven with an emphatic 6-3, 6-3 win over No 10 seed Emma Raducanu in the second-round at Wimbledon here on Wednesday.
After winning her first match at Wimbledon on Monday, the 28-year-old Garcia predicted that her second-round clash against home favourites Raducanu was ticketed for Centre Court.
“It’s going to be my first match on Centre Court, and it’s always a pleasure to be playing on the big courts of the Slams, and the one of Wimbledon is very special,” she had said after beating another British player, Yuriko Miyazaki.
“It’s going to be a great atmosphere. Really looking forward to it.”
Not only did Garcia turn out to be prescient. She turned out victorious. With a win over home favourites, the former World No.4 moved through to the third round at the All-England Club for the third time in her career.
The win also gave Garcia a bit of revenge against Raducanu this season; she’d lost to her in three sets at the BNP Paribas Open in March in their first career meeting.
Garcia rose to the Centre Court occasion in 85 minutes, showing the form that took her to that career-high ranking four years ago.
The Frenchwoman hammered 24 winners, more than double that of Raducanu’s 11, won 71 per cent of points played behind her first serve, and won 15 of the 18 points when she came to net.
Bad Homburg champion Garcia has now won her last seven matches. However, coming into this year’s Championships, she had a losing career record at the grass-court major. She hadn’t won a match at Wimbledon since reaching the last 16 in 2017. She also reached the third round in 2014.
To match her best-ever showing at the All-England Club, Garcia will have to beat another seeded player: No.33 Zhang Shuai. Zhang, who entered the seedings after Madison Keys withdrew from the Championships with injury, saved three set points in the first set of her 7-6(6), 6-2 win over Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk.
Zhang’s beaten Garcia twice in their three career meetings, including previously at Wimbledon and earlier this year. She was a 6-4, 6-0 victory in the first round at Wimbledon in 2019, and also won in the Lyon semifinals in February on her way to winning the title.
(Inputs from IANS)