MALLORCA, Spain - 2016 champion Caroline Garcia is back into the quarterfinals for the third year in a row at the Mallorca Open after a straight sets win over Johanna Larsson.
After edging a tight, three-set battle in the opening round against Hsieh Su-Wei, things were much less complicated for Garcia, who needed just an hour and 13 minutes to notch the 6-4, 6-3 victory.
“I think today it’s a better match than yesterday,” Garcia admitted afterwards. “It’s always tricky to play your first match on grass, so I’m very happy with these two wins in a row.
“I can get some confidence and keep working to be ready for my quarterfinal.”
There was not much to separate Garcia and Larsson in the first set, which unfolded as a tight battle between servers. There were no break points on offer for the first nine games of the set, and just one game even reached deuce.
But a shaky Larsson service game started by a double fault gave Garcia a chance, piling on the pressure to force a pair of errors. A second Larsson double fault finally handed the first break - along with the opening set - to Garcia.
Larsson responded admirably, and didn’t make a single unforced error as she roared ahead to an early break, 2-1. Garcia broke straight back to level the match and dodged three break chances from Larsson to stay on serve. The Frenchwoman finally broke through late in the set, reeling off the last three games in a row to close out the match.
“I think today I played a solid match, and that’s what I needed to do against Larsson. The conditions here in Mallorca are always perfect, it’s hot and sunny, and I always enjoy coming back here.
“I have good memories here from two years ago when I won, and last year I made semifinals. I want to stay for the whole rest of the week and keep working hard.”
She’ll face another qualifier in the quarterfinals after Sofia Kenin defeated Alison Van Uytvanck 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 earlier in the day.