MIAMI, FL, USA - Caroline Garcia was the first woman to advance on Saturday at the Hard Rock Stadium, surging into the Miami Open fourth round with a 6-0, 7-5 win over 2018 Wimbledon semifinalist Julia Goerges.
Fresh off an impressive win over forer World No.1 Victoria Azarenka, Garcia had won their two previous matches and maintained her perfect head-to-head against Goerges after a quick start and tense finish in a match that took 80 minutes to complete on Court Butch Buchholz.
"When you get a win, it makes you more confident and proves that the hard work and direction you’re taking is good," Garcia said after the match. "I won’t stop working because we’re continuing to do a good job. We’re always trying to understand and take new experiences. I have to keep believing in myself, be more relaxed and enjoy it."
The Frenchwoman broke first and navigated a tricky second service game to maintain her lead. She only got stronger from there, getting out to 40-0 leads in each of the next three games, eventually converting all three to grab the opening set at love.
"I’m very happy with my serve. I changed direction well, and had some free points on my serve, which is very important for me.
"We’ve tried to work a little bit more on it, so it gives me confidence and motivation to work even more because I needed these free points today!"
Goerges made the second set much tenser as the 2018 WTA Ace Leader traded service holds with Garcia through the first 11 games. Garcia looked in trouble as she fell behind 0-40 at five games apiece, but ultimately saved four break points to put pressure back on her German opponent.
"Well, I think it was pretty important game, for sure! We changed balls, and I made a few bad choices. I was too passive, I think, and I was 0-40 down very fast. She was fighting on every ball, trying to put it back, again and again. At 0-40, I tried to be focused and relaxed. I thought about how, in practice, you can make three very good first serves in a row, so why not now?
"I was trying to pick my spots and play one ball at a time, but on one of the break points, I played a very bad second serve in the middle of the box, but I thought, ‘Ok, everyone is stressed and tight.’ Sure enough, she wanted it so badly that she went for the return too much. Sometimes you just have to be confident."
Returning at match point, the No.19 seed took her first opportunity to end the match and ease into the fourth round, her best-ever performance in Miami.
"I was very happy with the 5-5 game, and she was a bit down afterwards, so I tried to be aggressive, and make every return in the next game. She made some mistakes, so I’ll take it."
Up next for the 2017 China Open champion will be two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who survived rising Croatian star Donna Vekic on Grandstand court.
"I think it’s kind of the same situation. Julia might use more of a kick serve than the other two girls, but I’ll be against another aggressive player, and it’s always interesting to try and find the tactics where I can put my game forward."
Completely focused on the task at hand, Garcia has watched just one thing on TV this week.
"We have the Tennis Channel at the hotel, so when I do watch TV, it's only tennis!"