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Garcia shows promise with gutsy win

Caroline Garcia re-grips her racket at qualifying
by Dan Imhoff at Qualifying
Wednesday 19 June 2013

When teenager Caroline Garcia had Maria Sharapova on the ropes at Roland Garros two years ago, it was enough for Andy Murray to tweet she would one day become the world's top-ranked woman.

High praise inded, even if Sharapova would go on to recover from that second-round 6-3, 4-1 deficit.

Seeded third for Wimbledon qualifying, and still only 19, the French teen showed flashes of that form on Wednesday in a 7-6(6), 7-6(3) second-round result against statuesque Brit Naomi Broady.

Despite falling behind 4-0 in the first-set tiebreak and facing two sets points on the back of a huge ace down the T from Broady, Garcia held her nerve, much to the disappointment of the locals lining the sunny hill overlooking Roehampton's Court 16.

She reeled off four straight points to steal the first set 8-6.

It prompted a switch from yelling her usual French "allez", to pump herself up, to the Spanish "vamos".

"Yeah, yeah, sometimes when I'm really on my game I say 'vamos'," Garcia said. 

"My grandfather was Spanish, it's quite far, but I still like Spain so sometimes I still say it (vamos)."

In 2011, Garcia was runner-up at the Junior US Open and reached the semi-finals of the other three junior Grand Slam events.

Having recently scraped into the top 100, and with a win against former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone to her name this year, she is determined to consolidate her transition to the professional ranks.

It has meant learning to pull through, even when opportunities go begging.

Despite serving for the match against Broady at 6-5 in the second set, the Frenchwoman let triple match point slip before steadying herself to seal the tie-break with an ace down the T.

"Two tie-breaks is always tight. Naomi has a very big serve so its always difficult, you have to be focused and take every opportunity. You have like one (chance) in the game, you have to take it and that's the most difficult," she said.

"I was 6-5 up and I lost my serve, I don't know how. After I keep focus on my game and I was so focused on the serve so I returned well ... My serve was always good, one break, but it's OK."

Her former junior rival, Belgian An-Sophie Mestach, continued her comeback from wrist surgery with her second three-set victory in as many days. The 19-year-old upset 15th seed Teliana Pereira, of Brazil, 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-1.

Down a set and 4-2, Mestach began to slash her error count, going on a four-game tear to nab a crucial break at 6-5 and level the match at a set apiece before racing confidently through the decider, 6-1.

Her 19-year-old compatriot, Alison Van Uytvanck, didn't finish as strongly.

Despite leading Colombian 11th seed Mariana Duque-Marino 3-1 in the deciding set, the tall Belgian lost the last five games of the match in a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 second-round defeat.

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