LYON, France - No.3 seed Caroline Garcia's hometown resurgence continued as she edged out Ysaline Bonaventure 7-5, 6-2 to reach the Open 6ème Sens - Métropole de Lyon quarterfinals in one hour and 21 minutes.
The result marks the first time the Frenchwoman has won consecutive matches since reaching the Mallorca quarterfinals last June. Since then, Garcia has endured a torrid 17-tournament streak of either first- or second-round exits - but appropriately enough, she has snapped it in the inaugural edition of a tournament in the city where she resides, buoyed by a loyal crowd.
"It's a great feeling," smiled Garcia afterwards. "I'm very happy with my match today - I think I didn't start perfectly but I came back stronger, I stayed very positive and I fought very well.
"I definitely served very well, especially on the important points, the break points and when I had game points - I changed a lot my spots, something I've been working on this year."
The World No.46 got off to a nervy start, losing eight of the first 10 points and falling behind 0-2 with a shanked forehand and double fault. But Bonaventure, bidding to reach her third career WTA quarterfinal following Budapest 2018 and Rabat 2019, repaid the favor in kind, coughing up two double faults of her own and a wide backhand to concede the break back to love.
Thereafter, though, both players settled into their grooves. Both would eschew extended rallies in favor of landing heavy blows as quickly as possible after landing powerful first serves, with the winning percentage for each behind that first delivery - 81% for Garcia, 76% for Bonaventure - signaling its importance.
Through the next seven games, only one break point would hove into view - against Garcia in the eighth game, which the 26-year-old saved, naturally, with a service winner - and although Bonaventure was able to come up with a few screaming winners at full defensive stretch, the Belgian was unable to translate this into capturing her opponent's serve again.
Instead, it was the World No.122 who blinked first. Serving at 5-5, Bonaventure found herself under pressure thanks to some ferocious returning from Garcia - and though she fended off two break points with some of her best tennis of the day, her forehand found the net on a third, and the home player quickly closed the set out to love with another service winner.
Unforced errors continued to plague Bonaventure at inopportune times as the match began to fall away from her. The 25-year-old left-hander's forehand particularly let her down in the third game, finding the net twice to hand Garcia the first break of the second set - and two games later, a four-deuce tussle would also go the former World No.4's way for the double break after Bonaventure finally bailed out with a wild redirected forehand that landed outside the tramlines.
A confident Garcia would also be able to extricate herself from any further potential trouble with bold, accurate hitting. A scorching forehand winner down the line and an unreturnable serve staved off two break-back points to hold for 3-1, and the 2017 Roland Garros quarterfinalist came up with some cool-headed net play during the battle for the fifth game.
Maintaining a 79% winning percentage behind her first serve during the second set, Garcia would keep hold of her lead to the end, serving out to 30 and taking her first match point when a forehand volley proved too much for Bonaventure, who sent her attempted pass wide.
Up next for Garcia in the quarterfinals will be No.5 seed Alison Van Uytvanck, who needed a third-set tiebreak to overcome Viktoriya Tomova 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(2) in two hours and 20 minutes earlier in the day - and whose girlfriend Greet Minnen was Garcia's first-round victim this week.