MALLORCA, Spain - Nature Valley Open champion Caroline Garcia extended her winning streak to six matches with a come-from-behind win over Victoria Azarenka at the Mallorca Open.
The No.6 seed rallied for a 1-6, 6-4, 7-5 first round victory over the former World No.1, as she came back from losing her first-ever set against Azarenka and also won six of the last eight games from a break down in the decider.
"It was definitely difficult. I arrived only yesterday...so I had to get everything ready and organize myself, and be ready," Garcia said.
"For sure, I was feeling tired in the first set, but sometimes, mentally, you are stronger than you think. That's what I tried to do. Keep fighting, and in the third set, I was definitely feeling better."
Coming off her first title of the season in Nottingham at the Nature Valley Classic last week, the No.6 seed was slow to get started against the two-time Grand Slam champion and former World No.1.
Azarenka won the first four games of the match in short order, as she sprinted out to a 4-0 lead, before eventually breaking serve a third time to wrap up her first-ever set won against Garcia.
The Belarusian faced just one break point in the first set, and won 92 percent of her first serve points despite only landing them 48 percent of the time.
Garcia flipped the match in the second set, however, as she was the one to break twice to build a 4-1 lead, only to see Azarenka respond to win three straight games to put herself within striking distance of the second round.
From 30-15 on the Belarusian's serve in the ninth game, Garcia won the last seven points of the set, and though she was the first to lose serve in the final set, she remained undaunted.
The World No.23 nearly dug out of 0-40 before losing serve in the fourth game, as Azarenka led 3-1, but broke back immediately and restored parity before winning the last three games.
In her title run in Nottingham, Garcia was stretched to three sets in her last three matches, and has come from a set down in four consecutive matches in her winning streak.
"I wish I could win the matches in two sets, but sometimes it doens't go your way as soon as you want," Garcia said.
"I kept fighting very hard, and even if I don't feel good in the first set, I know I can improve.
"If I want to win the match, I have to give everything I have even if it's not the best ever, but it's the best for the day."
The 2016 champion in Mallorca, Garcia could face another title-winner from last week, Alison Riske, in the second round.
"I came a few years back-to-back, I won the first edition which is a great memory for me. Ever year, I come back. It's always special to play on grass in the sun."