NEW HAVEN, CT, USA - No.2 seed Caroline Garcia needed almost three hours to see off an inspired upset bid from Aliaksandra Sasnovich, coming back from a set down to move into the quarterfinals at the Connecticut Open, 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-4.  

Garcia came into the tournament looking for a breakthrough moment as she heads into the US Open; she has yet to reach a final since her giant-killing runs at Wuhan and Beijing last year, and was hoping to build on a quarterfinal appearance at Montreal and third round at Cincinnati.

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She ran up against fierce resistance in Belarusian qualifier Sasnovich, a tricky opponent who gave Garcia plenty of trouble in their last meeting at the Australian Open despite trailing 0-2 in the pair’s head to head record.  

“I’ve played her before in long matches so I was expecting a fight,” Garcia told press afterwards. “She’s having a great year so far. We played in Australian Open the last time, and it was again the same battle - lots of rallies, running from one side to another.

“I knew I had to be a great player today and fight until the end.”

Sasnovich posted back-to-back love games on her serve to keep Garcia under pressure from the start. The Frenchwoman faced break points in her each of first three service games - saving seven in total - before Sasnovich finally broke through on the eighth at 3-2 to grab an early lead.

Garcia got it back a few games later - edging through in a marathon game to break back and level the match at 4-4. The pair stayed solid to send them into a tiebreaker, where Sasnovich pulled ahead and reeled off four points in a row to take the opening set.

But Garcia responded in emphatic style in the second set. She weathered another early break and raised her aggression to reel off four games in a row and open up a 5-1 lead, serving out the second set comfortably.

The Frenchwoman was in trouble in the third, falling behind a break at 1-3 and a point away from finding herself down 1-5. But Garcia turned it around in style, reeling off five games in a row to seal the match after two hours and 57 minutes.

“The first set was very difficult physically for both of us, but I think she went even farther than me to win it,” Garcia assessed. “The second set I felt like she did a little bit more mistakes, so I tried to take this advantage and keep going. The third set was the same as the first, very physical and a lot of crazy moving side to side.

“I’m very happy with the way I fight, and at the end I think we both deserve the win so I’m happy to be through. It was a great battle, and I know we’ll have more like this.”

Up next, Garcia will face either Anett Kontaveit or Monica Puig in the quarterfinals.