LYON, France - French women made it two-for-two on the first day of main draw action at the Open 6ème Sens - Métropole de Lyon, but not without a fight.
After No.4 seed Alize Cornet cruised past German qualifier Antonia Lottner by winning the last seven games earlier in the day, No.3 seed Caroline Garcia was pushed to the brink by Belgian Greet Minnen in the nightcap before prevailing in a third-set tiebreak, 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(5).
The former World No.7, who resides in Lyon, trailed 4-2 in the final set before winning three straight games, never allowing the Belgian to reach match point.
She later saw two match points of her own slip by in the 12th game before ultimately sealing the two hour and 16-minute victory in a dramatic tiebreak, which never saw the two players separated by more than two points.
"I was very excited to play against Greet. I think she's a great player, and I think it was a very big fight from the beginning to the end," Garcia said after the match.
"I didn't always play great, but I tried to fight very hard, and I'm very happy and proud with how I managed the end of the match."
The first eight games of the opening set went with serve until Garcia scored what proved to be the decisive break at 4-4, but both players earned themselves chances to win the set. World No.103 Minnen saved four break points to open the match, and later, Garcia saved two against her serve to level proceedings at 3-3.
Down a set, however, Minnen produced a stunning second set to send the match to a decider. Though it began in similar fashion, with the Belgian saving three break points to get on the board first, the way it unfolded from then on couldn't have been more different.
Minnen dropped just four points in the next three games to open up an expansive 4-0 lead, and denied Garcia five break points down the stretch of the set.
The 22-year-old first saved two to stretch her lead to 5-1, and later won five straight points from 0-40 to serve out the set. Minnen's momentum continued into the decider, and she was the first to break serve to lead 3-1 in the final set.
However, after failing to convert two break points in the next game, Garcia's comeback slowly began to gain steam, buoyed by the support of a passionate home crowd.
"I'm very lucky to have the chance to play at home," Garcia continued. "It's very rare. I really tried to embrace it and take everything in. They really helped me. It's an honor to play in France, and even more so in my own tournament.
"I'm so happy that I won this match with the support of the public. I wanted to give back everything I have here to Lyon. It's very special to play in this tournament. It was great to be supported like this."
The World No.46 saved a break point which would've seen Minnen build a 5-2 lead, and have two chances to serve out the match, before she finally broke serve for the first time since the opening set to level in the eighth game.
A love hold put Garcia back on top, and the French No.3 seed earned herself opportunities to win the match prior to the eventual tiebreak.
Garcia was two points away from victory in the 10th game at 30-30 before Minnen saved two match points in the 12th to send the contest to its finale.
The first six points went with serve, as the two players changed ends at 3-3, before trading mini-breaks to again see parity at 4-4. What followed was another moment finely poised at 5-5, before Garcia finally forced the Belgian into a miscue on the back of a strong forehand to bring up a third match point, which she duly converted on an unreturned serve down the tee.
Up next, Garcia will face another Belgian player in left-hander Ysaline Bonaventure, who beat Ukrainian teenager Marta Kostyuk in Monday's opening round, 6-4, 6-4.