PARIS, France - Cagla Buyukakcay continued her historic clay court season at the biggest stage of the surface, defeating Aliaksandra Sasnovich 5-7, 7-6, 6-2 to become the first Turkish woman in the Open Era to win a match at a Grand Slam.
Just her presence at the 2016 French Open was historic enough: Buyukakcay joined Ipek Solyu this week as one of the first two Turkish women to appear in a Grand Slam. Buyukakcay had to battle through the qualifying rounds to book her spot in the main draw.
She let slip a pair of early break chances to go down a set to Sasnovich, who was also looking for her first match win at Roland Garros. The pair traded four breaks of serve in the second to stay toe to toe and send the set into a tiebreak, where Buyukakcay rattled off five straight games to force a decider. She won the five games in a row to close out the match and add another emotional and historic win to her repertoire.
Earlier in the clay season, the No.83-ranked qualifier rewrote the Turkish tennis history books in front of her home country with her victory at the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup. She became the first from her country to reach a WTA semifinal, final and capture a title, as well as the first to break into the Top 100.
"I wanted to cry after the match, because it's very important for Turkish tennis," Buyukakcay said after the final in Istanbul. "I will be in the Top 100, which will be the first time for Turkish tennis. Probably, I will also be in the main draw at Wimbledon for the first time in my career - and also in Turkish history. I was so emotional at the end."
Also in action on a rainy Day 2 of the French Open, 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova wrapped up her first round match against Yaroslava Shvedova 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. Postponed from yesterday due to a rain delay, the pair picked up at 3-1 in the third set and the Russian weathered a break of serve to stay ahead in the score. She brought up match point on Shvedova's serve at 5-3 before closing it out in the next game.
"I stayed focused," Garcia said. "I was trying to put more spin in my balls. And then she started to make some mistakes at important moments. So I did my very best.
"And before it's over, it's not over."
Despite winning the first set fairly comfortably - grabbing the lone break of the set at 3-1 to get the lead - she struggled in the second and quickly found herself in a big hole. Tsurenko was leading 5-2, and several times was just two points away from claiming the set. But Garcia, who was fresh off of a title at Strasbourg, held on each time and ran off with the next five games.
"I have more self-confidence," Garcia said of her comeback win. "In Strasbourg I played very well. I think I learned. I learned about myself. I have worked hard, day after day, week after week.
"It has been a long process, takes a lot of time."
? Ça?la Büyükakçay (@CaglaBuyukakcay) May 23, 2016