Misc Tennis

Garcia Grounds Osaka, Sets up Showdown vs. Gauff

Garcia Grounds Osaka, Sets up Showdown vs. Gauff


By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Sunday, March 24, 2024

Caroline Garcia brings fight and flight when she faces Naomi Osaka.

Rocketing 12 aces, Garcia won five of the final six games fighting off former No. 1 Osaka 7-6(4), 7-5 to reach the Miami Open round of 16.

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On match point, Garcia attacked digging out a demanding low volley and soaring for a smash to land in the round of 16 for the first time since 2019.

Afterward, Garcia said facing Osaka’s jolting power makes you feel as if you leave a piece of yourself on court. Osaka zapped 16 aces and saved seven of nine break points.

“I think the [aces] came mainly in the first set. I felt second set I was struggling with my serve,” Garcia told Tennis Channel’s Prakash Amritraj afterward. “Second set, I left my shoulder out there because you have too much the power of Naomi, but first serve in the first set was super important for me.”

The one-set lead empowered Garcia to keep swining away as she rallied from 2-4 down in the second set.

“It always gave me a lot of confidence,” Garcia said. “I had to be as relaxed as I can technically and really try to get the ball as high as I can but really go for it…nice and loose.”

This third match between the two power players this season saw Garcia play periods of brilliant first-stike tennis to beat Osaka for the second time this season.

The Frenchwoman ripped 13 aces and did not face a break point, stopping Osaka 6-4, 7-6(2) in a superb Australian Open opener last January.

Riding an imposing first serves and timely strikes, Osaka defeated Garcia 7-5, 6-4 in Doha last month.

Today, Garcia played big and bold at pivotal points setting up a blockbuster round of 16 vs. hometown hero Coco Gauff.

US Open champion Gauff streaked through 10 straight games defeating French lucky loser Oceane Dodin 6-4, 6-0 to reach the round of 16 for the second time in the last three years.

The third-seeded Gauff and Garcia have split two prior…

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