More … than his dazzling display against Bianca Andreescu, it is probably this victory (6-4, 6-1), Sunday in the round of 16 of the US Open against Alison Riske-Amritraj which shows all the progress made by Caroline Garcia (17th) lately. In three confrontations, the French had never managed to take a set from the American. It must be said that the game of Riske-Amritraj (29th) has everything to disturb Garcia. With her unique technique, the American is a perfect blocker.
Not only does it not provide rhythm, but it relies on the speed of the opponent’s ball to return it even faster. Consequently, it is up to the opponent to make the ball live. Never easy, whatever the level. And Garcia (28) has regularly broken his teeth on opponents of this kind, especially in the semi-finals in Lyon against the future winner, China’s Zhang Shuai. But since February, Garcia is no longer the same.
Despite difficulties on her service games and no opening on those of her opponent, she did not doubt in the first set. She continued to be aggressive, with both feet planted inside the court. And by dint of putting the pressure on, it paid off with a Riske-Amritraj who collapsed in the tenth game (a double fault and two big faults on the forehand) to concede both the first break of the game and the first set.
Garcia finishes strong, despite returning nervousness
Freed by winning the first round, Garcia then showed a more conquering face. His first ball regained the precision he had lacked until then (8 aces, including 6 in the second set), forcing his opponent to retreat further. And with Riske-Amritraj retreating, Garcia could advance. But it is never more dangerous than when it hits inside the court.
Caroline Garcia qualified for the second Grand Slam quarter-final of her career on Sunday after that at Roland-Garros 2017.
With a quick break that saw her break away 2-0, Garcia finally saw her shots hurt her opponent, especially with some laser returns that swept the lines. The second set will have been a solitary jumper where only the nervousness of the return at the time of conclusion (five match points, but also three break points to defend) prevents the perfect copy. But Garcia is in the quarter-finals of the US Open for the first time in her career – she will be against Cori Gauff or Zhang Shuai – and that is the only thing that matters.