ZHENGZHOU, China - France's Caroline Garcia snapped a four-match losing streak in the opening round of the Zhengzhou Open on Monday, as she held off Tereza Martincova of the Czech Republic in first-round action, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.
Having gone winless for the better part of a month, Garcia, who lost her opener in Toronto, Cincinnati and at the US Open, won an over two-and-a-half hour marathon against the Czech World No. 138 to move safely through to the second round.
After an opening two sets which saw just one break for each player, as the sets were deciding the closing games, a dramatic decider lasted over an hour on its own.
Though Garcia led by a break twice, at 1-0 and 5-3, she was forced to win the match on her third match point, as Martincova fought hard with her back against the wall.
The Czech saved two match points on Garcia's serve in the 10th game, breaking Garcia for a second time in the match to stay alive, but ultimately fell in two hours and 36 minutes.
"It was definitely a tough battle. It's never easy to start the first match on the first day of the tournament," Garcia said after the match.
"It's been difficult for in the last few weeks, so I'm very happy with the way I fought even if it was not always great tennis. I was down sometimes, but I fought my way through."
Over the first two sets, the story of the match was all about the serve. Both players were largely untroubled in their service games, as they faced just six break points combined over the course of the first two sets.
Garcia saved a pair of break point to hold for 2-2 early on, and never faced one again, before she scored the decisive break in the ninth game of the opener.
In the second set, the story was similar, but it was Martincova who held on to the lead by holding serve. Neither player faced a break point until the Czech saved Garcia's lone chance of the set in the ninth game, and broke serve to force a final set.
"It's very hot and very humid, but I'm lucky - unfortunately, I lost early in New York so I was able to arrive here pretty early and practice here every day," Garcia said. "It was difficult, but I like it when it's humid."
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Up next, Garcia could face a very familiar foe in fellow Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic, should Mladenovic get past Chinese wildcard Duan Ying-ying in her first match.
"Obviously, I know a little bit about Kristina. We played a lot of doubles together, Fed Cup, so we both know each other," Garcia said. "She's the favorite in the first round, and I will wait to see who wins and be ready for my match."