Former world No. 4, Caroline Garcia seeks her first quarter final since last June when she takes on Belgium's Ysaline Bonaventure in Lyon on Wednesday.
Garcia vs Bonaventure is live from Lyon on Wednesday, 4 March from 6:30pm local time/ 5:30pm GMT
Garcia last reached a WTA quarter final in Mallorca last year, but things have gone pear-shaped since then, with the Frenchwoman failing to win consecutive matches in her next 16 tour-level events leading up to Lyon.
It was not that long ago that Garcia was No. 4 in the world- in September 2018- but her failure to defend titles in Wuhan and Beijing, and to qualify for the season-ending WTA Finals, where she had made the semi-finals in the previous season, meant she ended the year down at 19th in the world.
The Frenchwoman struggled at the start of 2019, and did not make a single quarter final within the first five months, but she found some form around the midway point of the year, reaching the final on the clay of Strasbourg, winning the s-Hertogenbosch title and making the aforementioned quarter final in Mallorca in June. However, rather than kicking on from there, Garcia slipped into her mediocre form yet again, winning just five matches in the second half of the year.
That poor run has continued into 2020. Before Lyon, she had won only two matches, in Auckland and the Australian Open; and suffered first round defeats in Hobart, St. Petersburg and Doha. The 26-year-old flirted with another first round exit when she trailed Greet Minnen 2-4 in the final set of her Lyon opener, but she escaped with a 6-4 1-6 7-6 victory, snapping a three-match losing streak in the process.
Minnen held a break point for a 5-2 double break lead in the final set, but Garcia fended off that danger, before going on to claim a hard-fought two-hour 16-minute victory.
“I’m very lucky to have the chance to play at home,” said Garcia, who resides in Lyon. “It’s very rare. I really tried to embrace it and take everything in. They really helped me. It’s an honor to play in France, and even more so in my own tournament”.
“I’m so happy that I won this match with the support of the public. I wanted to give back everything I have here to Lyon. It’s very special to play in this tournament. It was great to be supported like this.”
“I didn’t always play great, but I tried to fight very hard, and I’m very happy and proud with how I managed the end of the match.”
Can she end her long wait for a WTA quarter-final by taking down another Belgian, Ysaline Bonaventure on Wednesday?
25-year-old Bonaventure is competing in just her second WTA main draw of the season. She was beaten by Alize Cornet in the first round in Auckland earlier in the year, but she has got her first tour-level main draw win of the year in Lyon, beating Marta Kostyuk 6-4 6-4 in the first round. The Belgian trailed 0-3 in the second set, but she won six of the next seven games to complete the win after an hour and 20 minutes.
Bonaventure has had a series of qualifying failures this year, falling short at the Australian Open, Dubai and Doha, but she gained some respite at ITF level, winning the W60 tournament in Andrezieux-Boutheon. She is seeking just her third WTA quarter final, and her first since Rabat last April.
Apart from Rabat, she managed consecutive wins in just one other tournament last year, at Indian Wells, where she scored big wins over Taylor Townsend and Donna Vekic before falling to Karolina Pliskova in the third round. The Belgian has finished inside the top-200 in five of the last six seasons, but she has never cracked the top 100, with her career high ranking being No. 109, a position she attained last July.
She faces Caroline Garcia for the first time on Wednesday, with a spot in the quarter finals on the line.
It’s a match you’d expect Garcia to win, but the Frenchwoman hasn’t been in form for some time now, and did not particularly play great in her opening match against Minnen. An upset is a real possibility here.