TIANJIN, China - No.2 seed Caroline Garcia advanced to the quarterfinals of the Tianjin Open on Thursday with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Chinese qualifier Zhang Yuxuan.
The World No.16 defeated a home favorite for the second straight match in Tianjin, needing exactly 90 minutes to reach her 10th quarterfinal of the 2018 season, and second in Asia this fall.
"It's never easy to play someone you never played before. I didn't really know her. She had nothing to lose, and she was hitting the ball very well, especially from the backhand side," Garcia said after the match.
"I had to fight and play a solid match today. It was very intense so I'm happy to be through in two sets."
After being broken in the first game of the match against the World No.225, Garcia quickly settled in and ran off the next five games of the opening set, which saw a stretch where she won 11 straight points.
Zhang proved undaunted against the former World No.4, and scored a second break en route to winning consecutive games for the first time to close the early gap, but Garcia nonetheless served out the opener at her second opportunity.
The pair traded breaks twice in the second set, as the 24-year-old Chinesewoman - who beaten a player ranked over 150 spots above her in Irina-Camelia Begu in the first round - kept the pressue on when trailing 1-0 and 3-2.
However, the French No.1 scored a key sixth break of the match in the seventh game of the set and held through to victory from there, setting up a quarterfinal meeting with No.6 seed Petra Martic.
Martic came from a set down to see off another Chinese player in Liu Fangzhou on Wednesday, 1-6, 6-0, 6-1, and Garcia holds a 2-0 head-to-head advantage over the World No.36.
"I played her in Madrid this year [and won, 6-3, 7-5]," Garcia said of the No.6 seed. "She has a good serve and a good forehand, so I'll have to play my best and see what I can do."
In other action on Thursday, No.3 seed Elise Mertens, Great Britain's Katie Boulter and Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky each booked their spots in the quarterfinals with wins over three qualifiers.
Mertens handled Jana Cepelova in just over an hour, 6-2, 6-3; Boulter defeated Barbora Krejcikova, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3, while Bacsinszky came from a set down to defeat Misaki Doi, 1-6, 6-3, 7-5.