Caroline Garcia needed to fight hard on Thursday to reach the third round of the Australian Open for the first time in four years.
The No.4 seed beat 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez 7-6(5), 7-5 inside Rod Laver Arena to reach the last 32 in Melbourne for the fifth time in her career.
Here are three takeaways from the Frenchwoman's hard-fought win.
🎾 Down 2/5 in first-set tie-break— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 19, 2023
🎾 Saves set point in second set with an ace@CaroGarcia digs deep to pass a stern test from Fernandez!@wwos • @espn • @Eurosport • @wowowtennis • #AusOpen • #AO2023 pic.twitter.com/9KVK9Dsl5l
Garcia continues to dominate Canadians: After a dominant 6-0, 6-3 opening round win against qualifier Katherine Sebov, Garcia was pushed much harder by Canada's top-ranked player.
She came from a break down in the first set and saved a set point in the second set in 1 hour and 52 minutes. She also saved two break points each at 4-4 and 5-5 in the opener and came from 4-0 and 5-2 down in the first-set tiebreak.
Garcia is now 12-3 in her career against Canadians and has won the past six matches.
More from Day 4:
- Sabalenka eases past Rogers into Australian Open third round
- Why Team USA is drawing locks on the camera at the Australian Open
- Five things to know about American qualifier Katie Volynets
1-2 punch overwhelms Fernandez: To do that, Garcia found big serves and bigger returns in the crucial moments. She hit 40 winners, including 11 aces in victory. That was more than double the winner total of Fernandez (18) who also didn't hit a single ace.
Impressively, Garcia hit her way out of several of her deficits. She hit an ace to get on the board in the first-set tiebreak after trailing 4-0, and hit five winners in the set's last five points.
Staring down set point in the 10th game of the second set, she hit another ace.
Opportunity knocks: Garcia came into the match knowing that she's the only Top 16 left in the third quarter of the women's singles draw.
She'll next face former Top 30 player Laura Siegemund, who's through to the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time since 2020, with either No.19 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova or Magda Linette awaiting for the winner in the last 16.
Garcia's best result Down Under was a fourth-round showing in 2018.