Caroline Garcia pulled off a tremendous upset at the BNP Paribas Poland Open on Friday, ousting World No.1 Iga Swiatek 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 in the Warsaw quarterfinals.
No.5 seed Garcia had garnered six previous wins over Top 5 opposition throughout her career, but her victory over Swiatek marks the Frenchwoman's first win over a current World No.1.
Garcia also ended Swiatek's spotless season on clay. Reigning Roland Garros champion Swiatek had been 18-0 on the surface in 2022, and had only dropped two sets on clay this year (to Liudmila Samsonova and Zheng Qinwen), but Garcia put that winning streak to bed.
"It was a very important match and I tried to be ready for it," Garcia said. "I started very strong, putting a lot of pressure on her. As soon as I got a bit lower-intensity, she came back very strong, and that’s what is happening against a top player.
"I stayed positive, I kept believing in my game and the way I wanted to play, and the third set was definitely very good tennis."
Resurgent summer: Former World No.4 Garcia had seen her ranking fall to No.79 in May, which was the first time she had dipped that low since 2014. However, Garcia has pieced together an excellent summer since then, pulling herself back up to her current spot of World No.45.
Garcia won her first title in three years on the grass courts of Bad Homburg in June, and she followed that up with a run to the Round of 16 at Wimbledon. Including a semifinal in Lausanne and a quarterfinal in Palermo in the last two weeks, Garcia has won 16 of her last 19 matches.
2005 - Caroline Garcia is the first French female player to win a clay courts match against the #1 ranked player since Mary Pierce at the Roland Garros 2005, against Lindsay Davenport. Chapeau.@WTA_insider @WTA pic.twitter.com/Cy7AqvH9cy— OptaAce (@OptaAce) July 29, 2022
Biggest win: Garcia now adds a win over a reigning World No.1 to her list of accomplishments that includes a total of eight Hologic WTA Tour singles titles. The Frenchwoman took 2 hours and 17 minutes to shock Swiatek, who was playing in her national capital.
Garcia used incredible returning, particularly off the second serve, to surprise Swiatek and her home crowd with a 6-1 first set. However, Swiatek cleaned up her game in the second set, hitting just a single unforced error in that frame as she claimed her own 6-1 set.
But Garcia stayed aggressive in the third set and slammed a forehand winner to break for 5-3. Swiatek broke back for 5-4, but Garcia fired two more return winners, including on match point, to break Swiatek again and collect the upset.
Next up: Garcia now advances to a Saturday semifinal against No.10 seed Jasmine Paolini of Italy. Garcia has won both of their previous meetings, including two weeks ago in Lausanne on clay.