Caroline Garcia is back in the fourth round at Wimbledon for the first time since 2017 after defeating No.33 seed Zhang Shuai 7-6(3), 7-6(5) in the third round. A champion in Bad Homburg a week ago, the victory extended Garcia's grass-court win streak to eight matches. She will face Marie Bouzkova in the Round of 16.
How the match was won: Garcia came into the match looking to level her 1-2 head-to-head and avenge her February loss to Zhang in the semifinals of Lyon. Carrying the confidence and clarity she showed in her second-round victory over Emma Raducanu, Garcia powered her way to the win by serving big and attacking the net.
Zhang served for the opening set at 5-4 but was broken by Garcia without having earned a set point. Garcia continued her attacking play in the first-set tiebreak, winning two key points at the net to build a 5-2 lead and close out the set after 50 minutes. Garcia took a medical timeout after the set to address her upper leg.
"I came from Germany and won matches there," Garcia said afterward. "The most important thing is to keep winning and push your limits every time. A little pain never killed anybody."
Neither player broke serve in the second set, though both had chances. After Garcia saved four break points early in the set, Zhang responded by saving two with a pair of unreturnable serves in the 3-3 game. The second-set tiebreak was locked at 5-5 before Garcia found her 16th ace of the day to earn match point. She closed out the match after 1 hour and 54 minutes as Zhang put a final backhand into the net.
Garcia fired a total of 16 aces in the match - Zhang hit just three - and won 25 of 34 points at the net. The Frenchwoman finished with 40 winners to 27 unforced errors. Zhang hit 26 winners to 18 unforced errors.
Words from the winner: "I was waiting for the battle against Shuai," Garcia said on court. "She won a couple of times in the past against me. She's a great player and, most importantly, she's one of the nicest persons on tour. She was so happy for me at the end of the match.
"I just really stayed focused, played one point at a time. Every game was tight. It could change very quickly. I was very happy with how I played the two tiebreak sets, very aggressive."
Stat of the match: Having won five matches to win her third career grass-court title in Bad Homburg and three matches at Wimbledon, Garcia has won eight matches in a row for the first time since winning the Wuhan-Beijing double in 2017.
Bouzkova books Round of 16 debut
No.66 Marie Bouzkova advanced to her first fourth round at a Slam after defeating 2019 quarterfinalist Alison Riske-Amritraj 6-2, 6-3 in the third round. The win sealed a fantastic opening week for the 23-year-old Czech. Along with 28th-seed Riske-Amritraj, Bouzkova also defeated No.9 seed Danielle Collins 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in the first round for her second Top 10 win of the season.
Bouzkova won over 68% of her service points against Riske-Amritraj, saving all four break points she faced in the match. It was a clinical performance from the counter-punching Czech, who hit 16 winners to 11 unforced errors. The American struggled to find a way past her defenses, as Riske-Amritraj hit 15 winners and 23 unforced errors.
Bouzkova had yet to make the third round of a major before this week. Her success at Wimbledon comes after a spate of bad luck at Roland Garros. There, Bouzkova was forced to withdraw ahead of the second round after testing positive for Covid.