PARIS, France - No.28 seed Caroline Garcia knocked out her countrywoman Chloe Paquet in straight sets to advance to the third round of the French Open for the first time in her career.
22-year-old wildcard Paquet was playing in her first French Open main draw and had never been on a stadium as big as Court 1 – but she wasn’t cowed by the occasion as she pushed Garcia until the very end, 7-5, 6-4.
“I was looking forward to playing this match, to playing against a very good player today,” Paquet said in her post-match press conference. “I was not apprehensive. It's quite strange; I wanted to be on court and to pick up a fight against her.
“If you compare Caroline and myself in terms of the level, there isn't much difference. But on crucial points, she will deliver the appropriate shot.”
Garcia opened the match with an early break for a 2-0 lead, but Paquet made sure every point was a struggle with her solid groundstrokes firing from both wings. Every time Garcia broke, Paquet broke straight back and stayed within touching distance.
The No.28 seed piled on the pressure at the very end, reeling off a flurry of winners to earn the decisive break against Paquet, wrapping up the close opening set.
The second set was just as tightly contested as the first, with just one break making the difference between the pair. Garcia once again found her focus when it counted, keeping Paquet under pressure in the final game as the wildcard served to stay in the match.
Garcia fired off a laser-accurate forehand winner down the line to end her countrywoman’s run in Paris, and take her own spot in the third round of the French Open for the first time in her six previous appearances.
Up next the Frenchwoman will take on Hsieh Su-Wei, who stunned the No.7 seed Johanna Konta in the first round.
“It's a bit of a surprise,” Garcia said. “She defeated Konta, so she's a good player. She plays very differently. Sometimes you get the impression that she plays and she walks.
“I know it's not going to be an easy match. She's not a top seed, but I know it will be a tough match. I know I will have to use my strengths and my forehand.”