Australian Open: Caroline Garcia holds nerves at bay to enter second week

Caroline Garcia needed a set to settle herself down before she got around to business in her third-round match at the Australian Open on Saturday. The fourth seed from France eventually defeated Laura Siegemund 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 after two hours and 10 minutes.

The opening set was a disaster for Garcia as she wasn’t able to match up to the tempo her German opponent quickly built. Siegemund’s shots found their mark while Garcia’s were erroneous. The only game Garcia held in the opening set came in her first service game. The set went entirely Siegemund’s way thereafter.

Australian Open: Aryna Sabalenka’s run of consistency

The loss of the opening set seemed to have an opposite effect on both players as the match wore on. Siegemund lost the grip she’d held over the proceedings in the second and third sets. On the other hand, Garcia began to control and execute her shots better, which earned her a couple of breaks of serve across both sets.

The last game of the match – on Siegemund’s serve – had four deuces in which the server had three game points while Garcia had two match points. An unforced error from Garcia erased her first match point just as two errors from Siegemund helped her get the win.

Garcia had 29 winners and 37 unforced errors while the German finished the match with 19 winners and 28 unforced errors.

Earlier in the morning session, fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka also moved into the round-of-16 with a 6-2, 6-3 win over 26th seed Elise Mertens.

Sabalenka, who’s yet to loss a set this year started the match as she’s been doing all this while – turning it around to her favour right from the set. Her former doubles partner had trouble intercepting her powerful shots and except on a few occasions when she managed to come up some good ball-striking of her own, was forced to wait for Sabalenka to make mistakes.

Sabalenka had 32 winners, 20 more than Mertens’ 12. The latter finished with just as many unforced errors while Sabalenka had eight more of these, at 20.

This is the third consecutive year that Aryna Sabalenka’s reached the fourth round of the Australian Open. She will be hoping to do one better this year after having exited in the said round in both previous years. 

Photo Credit: We are Tennis France