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US OPEN – Ladies’ singles – Caroline Garcia, the decisive course? “It was a very important game” & More News Headlines

 

When you ask Marin Cilic what was the most defining moment of his fortnight victory at the US Open in 2014, he does not first mention his fiery semi-final against Roger Federer, swept away in three sets, or his final of the same barrel synonymous with coronation against Kei Nishikori.

No, the key match, the one he feared the most, the Croatian places it earlier in his tournament, in the round of 16. That day, on the other side of the net, a certain Gilles Simon. The black beast of Cilic, still beaten by the Niçois in four confrontations. By finally finding the key (a victory in five sets), the future winner of the tournament was freed. It was certainly not his most prestigious victory of this US Open 2014 for him, but it was perhaps the most essential.

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The physical changes everything

Caroline Garcia is still very far from having won the US Open, but her Gilles Simon was called Alison Riske-Amritraj, and by beating the American on Sunday (6-4, 6-1) in the round of 16 (like , hey…), she survived a match that must not have been easy to manage, upstream as well as in the heat of the moment. We also felt more nervous than usual during the first set. Getting over that hurdle says a lot about who she is right now. In the eyes of the general public, Riske is not Swiatek, Sakkari, Kvitova, Sabalenka or Raducanu, all beaten by the Frenchwoman in recent weeks, but Garcia knew.

Garcia: “I have improved a lot in the last two months”

It was a super important match, I had never beaten her in the past“, she recalled at the microphone of Alex Corretja on Eurosport leaving the Louis-Armstrong court on Sunday evening. Their last duel dated back to the beginning of the summer, in Nottingham and Garcia had lost in two sets. “But I had played it on grass, it’s really a surface that fits well with his game with his changes of direction. Then physically I feel a lot better the last few weeks than when I last played it.“, she judges.

It was three months ago and it seems to belong to another era. Today, everything is running at full speed at Caroline Garcia. The head, the arm and, indeed, the legs. “I try to play as early as I can by taking time away from my opponents. It’s something I had trouble doing (at the start of the season) because physically, I had too many problems, I couldn’t train in these conditions. I was in pain, we took time to heal these glitches“, explained “Flying Caro” in an interview with Camille Pin after qualifying for the quarter-finals.

Caroline Garcia, with a clenched fist, wins against Riske-Amritra

Credit: Getty Images

Now she can put in place what she had in mind, because the body responds. “It’s much better, we worked well off the court, I feel much more dynamic on my legsshe believes. It allows me to be much more reactive and to be aggressive without hitting hard all the time, even if it comes out rather well. We were finally able to work in the direction we wanted to take by prioritizing what was important to me..”

This match against Riske, the Garcia before the summer of 2022 would most likely have lost it. For her, it was about something other than tennis. There were a lot of things to figure out. “Today, we had to deal with two or three little things different from usualconfirms the French. First, this court (the Louis-Armstrong, editor’s note) is very, very noisy. There is a kind of permanent hubbub which is difficult to manage at first.” But the most important part of the equation was this incompatibility between her game and that of Alison Riske which made her more nervous than in her previous rounds.

It took him a set to get rid of this tension. “There were more emotions, more stress”, admits Garcia, before pointing out his solidity of the moment: “Inevitably, with the last matches, I manage to stay calm and that helps me. I really concentrated point by point and little by little I managed to break free and play much better tennis in the second set. I tried to be aggressive, not to let her put her game in place, to be clear in the direction that I should take. Even when there is tension, when it doesn’t work, the arm goes less well.”

These are called certainties. Caroline Garcia knows where she wants to go and, more importantly, she has mapped out the path in her head. There may be obstacles, they may slow her down, but the direction is clear. “The line is all drawnshe blew on Eurosport on Sunday. Afterwards, there are always hazards that prevent you from following it as easily as that, but it clears my head. ” This clarity in her mind is what makes her optimistic, in the short term in this US Open but also in the longer term. It is she who allows her to recite her tennis, the one who, for a whole lots of reasons, had remained in the shadows for four years.

Caroline Garcia is completely hovering in New York.

Credit: Imago

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