Ana passes first hurdle

Ana passes first hurdle

Ana coasted into the second round of the French Open by beating world No.43 Caroline Garcia 6-1, 6-3 in just 67 minutes. Although the match was billed as one of the most intriguing opening round clashes in the women’s draw, the home player was never able to produce her best tennis against the solid 11th seed.

Ana had never before played the 20-year-old but immediately took command over the match. Garcia piled up the errors in the opening rallies and couldn’t put pressure on Ana as her first serve faltered – the French woman would end the opening set with a poor first serve percentage of 33. The world No.12 scored the first break in game two and never looked back.

Indeed, Ana powered ahead. The 26-year-old surged into a 4-0 lead without much resistance and her own form improved as the match progressed. Garcia eventually got on the scoreboard in game five after Ana was unable to convert a break point to go 5-0 up but it didn’t bother the 11th seed: she converted her third set point on her opponent’s serve two games later.

Garcia took a short break after the first chapter and went inside to search a long-sleeved shirt, as it was another chilly day in the French capital. She came back in better form and wangled a break point in the first game of the second set, which Ana saved with a first serve winner before holding serve some moments later.

The quality of play grew and the rallies on court Philippe Chatrier began to lengthen, as the home favourite started to cut down her unforced errors a little. Nonetheless, the 20-year-old’s serve remained vulnerable - she served six double faults throughout the match and  was broken at the first time of asking in set two.

Ana surrendered her serve herself immediately after, but a third consecutive break re-established her advantage. This time, the former French Open champion maintained her lead and she served the contest out with an ace, delightedly raising her hands as she emerged victorious on the court on which she has had so much succeess throughout her career.

“I did expect a very tough match,” said Ana. “Especially she's been playing really well on clay, and it's the first time we played it against each other, so I didn't know much coming into the match.”

Ana will meet Elina Svitolina from Ukraine in the second round on Thursday. The world No. 33 advanced after Croatian Petra Matric retired while trailing 5-0 in their opening round match. 

By Joeri Moerman