GSTAAD, Switzerland - Caroline Garcia made a smooth transition back to clay at the Ladies Championship Gstaad, navigating past Bulgaria's Elitsa Kostova, 7-5, 6-1, to reach the second round.
Garcia has posted impressive results on all surface in 2017, but is arguably most comfortable on clay, where she reached her first major semifinal at Roland Garros earlier this spring.
"It feels good to be back on clay, especially after having good results at the French Open," Garcia said after the match. "It had been difficult for me in the past over there, so this year was very different."
Fresh off a run to the second week of Wimbledon - where she pushed eventual semifinalist Johanna Konta to three tough sets - the Frenchwoman came back onto the terre battue at a career-high ranking of No.20 for a second straight appearance in Gstaad, in search of a maiden main draw win at the tournament.
"Grass is only a few weeks of the year, and then you know you're going right back to clay or hardcourts. I learned a lot on grass and tried to keep them on clay, like being more aggressive, moving forward to the net. I want to keep improving and be better.
"The conditions are really different here with the altitude, so it was tough at the beginning and it was a big fight. But I was able to stay focused and improve during the match. I'm happy about that."
Kostova pounced in the early stages, getting close to a double break lead at 3-1 in the opening set, but Garcia settled from there, dropping just three more games to advance after 78 minutes on Centre Court.
"I didn't start very well but I was able to stay positive and patient. I improved during the match and the last couple of games were really good. I just want to keep working on this for tomorrow and the rest of the week."
In all, Garcia struck eight aces and won 66% of her first serve points, breaking Kostova four times to book a second round encounter with Tereza Martincova, who knocked out Irina Khromacheva in straight sets.