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Garcia's comeback over Svitolina pays off at Porsche Tennis Grand Prix

Rudy Martinez
ANALYST
Feature
126   //    28 Apr 2018, 03:47 IST

Porsche Tennis Grand Prix Stuttgart - Day 5
Caroline Garcia

Caroline Garcia was still alive at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix Friday night. The world number seven fought out another way of bringing the third set against Elina Svitolina before taking the helm in a 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2 score on Centre Court at Porsche Arena in Stuttgart. It was the third time she had to go the distance against the top-ranked Ukrainian and third in a row against her.

The world number seven got the edge in the series last season with two victories against Svitolina at Beijing and Singapore concluding the 2017 tour. Garcia beat the world number four in three sets twice. This was also the second quarterfinal match for the players who were still getting used to the clay court surface.

Garcia had a lot more time on the court defeating Maria Sharapova and Marta Kostyuk that spanned six sets combined. While Svitolina played three herself, the last one came to a halt midway as her opponent called it quits due to injury.With the Ukrainian becoming the highest ranked player left in the tournament, she would have a lot on her hands to accomplish victory.

She delivered the first service hold of the match before Garcia came out guns blazing landing a couple aces in the process. She continued her pace in the third capturing the win on deuce with another two aces adding up to five so far.

They stopped coming as the players got into a tug of war over control that led to the next three games going to deuce. Despite the extra time of playing those games out, they remained on serve with the Frenchwoman breaking the pace with a stronger hold in the seventh.

Garcia then captured the first break of the set serving for the lead with Svitolina fighting to stay alive. She earned a break herself committing to her game on the return end that gave her a chance to level the score.

Both coaches came out to their respective players to give them pointers on how to defend and attack as both were looking for progress. Svitolina achieved her mission to keep the set going with a solid hold over Garcia in the tenth.

The situation became intense as every point mattered to the players going forward. Garcia earned the first step to get ahead of Svitolina on serve before the world number four responded in kind. They went to their fourth career tiebreak with Svitolina changing things up to lead briefly.

Her minibreak on Garcia ended putting them back into a tie after six points. The Ukrainian had enough of being in a tight spot with Garcia and blew ahead gaining three points in a row to win the set in 56 minutes.

The third seed was outshooting the number six seed on the first serve points land 72 percent while Garcia managed 55 percent but edged Svitolina on second serve success. With the leverage in hand for Svitolina, she would try to prevent history from repeating itself when leading the match over the Frenchwoman.

The knowledge of that came to be useful for her being aggressive on her shots that produced a 2-0 run frustrating Garcia. She backed up her lead with the double break wanting nothing more than to stay out front.

The sixth seed held in the fourth to end the shutout but was down two games with the Ukrainian back on serve. The lone victory turned the set around for the French star as she began her comeback to level the score at three all. Svitolina managed to stop her opponent’s winning streak getting a grip on her serve in the seventh.

She called Bettles out to help keep her focused and give her ideas on how to counter Garcia’s push to compete. It didn’t shape into a break for the world number four as she found Garcia levelled once again refusing to go down.

With the momentum heavily on her end, Garcia got the lead back playing for a shot at a third set coming into play. Svitolina knew that what she did in the opening set had to occur in order to avoid a long night on the court.

It became a drawn-out battle for her and Garcia as they went to deuce where Svitolina earned every chance through six breaks failing to get the ball over the net on the return.

It allowed Garcia to gain all the chances to change the tide and make her moment count landing an ace after the seventh break before winning the set straight up to send the two to a deciding third set. It took 51 minutes to complete the second with Garcia improving greatly playing 77 percent on the first serve while Svitolina’s suffered below 40.

With none of that mattering, the third was key for both to outduel one another as a semifinal spot was on the line. After each earned a service hold, Garcia changed it up with a break on Svitolina before widening the gap for herself at 3-1.

A double break had her very much in a dominant role with Svitolina struggling to keep up the pace as the aces began to return for the world number seven.

The sixth seed saw a challenge from the Ukrainian but converting on break points was no longer her forte as Garcia had things under control on deuce. She put herself a game away from the match with Svitolina on the edge of a big defeat.

She denied Garcia the chance to do that pulling off a double game point to keep on playing. Garcia had the opportunity to serve for the match in the eighth where she made it incredibly tough for Svitolina gaining two match points before smashing an ace to win her way into Saturday’s semifinal against Coco Vandeweghe.

It was a 2 hour and 16-minute battle that had the Frenchwoman fighting back to complete yet another victory in that fashion. “I fought very hard and played better and better,” Garcia said during her on-court interview.

“The last couple of matches that Elina and I played against each other was kind of a battle with breaks of serves in the match. I was pissed about my game once again at 5-3 but I kept fighting and stayed positive."

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Rudy Martinez
ANALYST
A writer with eight years experience in sportswriting. He specializes in the National Hockey League, WTA Tennis and both summer and winter Olympic sports.
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