After winning her first match at Wimbledon on Monday, Caroline Garcia predicted that her Round 2 clash against Emma Raducanu was ticketed for Centre Court.
"It's going to be my first match on Centre Court, and it's always a pleasure to be playing on the big courts of the Slams, and the one of Wimbledon is very special," she said after beating another British player, Yuriko Miyazaki. "It's going to be a great atmosphere. Really looking forward to it."
Not only did Garcia turn out to be prescient. She turned out victorious. With a 6-3, 6-3 win over the No.10 seed and home favorite, the former World No.4 moved through to the third round at the All-England Club for the third time in her career. The win also gave Garcia a bit of revenge against Raducanu this season; she'd lost to her in three sets at the BNP Paribas Open in March in their first career meeting.
"I'm definitely very happy with my performance today," Garcia told reporters after the match. "I knew it was going to be a tough match, and to play on Centre Court is never easy for the first time. I'm really pleased with the way I played my match and I went for it.
"Of course when you play someone who played very well in the past in this tournament, and she's obviously very successful in big events, I know she was going to play her best today. She was on Centre Court, it's my first time, so I was just really trying to be focused on myself, how I could prepare, and wait for the best from her and just be prepared of my game what I wanted to do, be aggressive and just try one point at a time."
Match management: Garcia rose to the occasion in 85 minutes, showing the form that took her to that career-high ranking four years ago. The Frenchwoman hammered 24 winners, more than double that of Raducanu's 11, won 71% of points played behind her first serve, and won 15 of the 18 points when she came to net.
Not only did was her tennis fitting of the event's biggest stage: She said her mindset was too.
"I'm very pleased that I played my first big match in Centre Court and I got the win, because I don't have great memories from my first step on the other center court of slams like either US Open or Australian Open, and French Open, as well."
"It's experience, you know. You learn from everything. I'm obviously very happy that today I played a full match from the first point to the last one."
Welcome to Centre Court, @EmmaRaducanu and @CaroGarcia 👋#Wimbledon | #CentreCourt100 pic.twitter.com/aDEgyZV9PT— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 29, 2022
Reversing her Wimbledon trend: Bad Homburg champion Garcia has now won her last seven matches. However, coming into this year's Championships, she had a losing career record at the grass-court major. She hadn't won a match at Wimbledon since reaching the last 16 in 2017. She also reached the third round in 2014.
To match her best-ever showing at the All-England Club, Garcia will have to beat another seeded player: No.33 Zhang Shuai. Zhang, who entered the seedings after Madison Keys withdrew from the Championships with injury, saved three set points in the first set of her 7-6(6), 6-2 win over Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk.
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Zhang's beaten Garcia twice in their three career meetings, including previously at Wimbledon and earlier this year. She was a 6-4, 6-0 victor in the first round at Wimbledon in 2019, and also won in the Lyon semifinals in February on her way to winning the title.