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Caroline Garcia aims to fulfil Andy Murray’s prophecy that she can become world No 1

Down a set and a break against Carla Suarez Navarro at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Caroline Garcia staged a superb rally to down the third seed 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in a rain-interrupted second-round match.
Caroline Garcia (L) of France is congratulated by Carla Suarez Navarro (R) of Spain after winning their second round match of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis WTA Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 17 February 2016. EPA/ALI HAIDER
Caroline Garcia (L) of France is congratulated by Carla Suarez Navarro (R) of Spain after winning their second round match of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis WTA Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 17 February 2016. EPA/ALI HAIDER

DUBAI // Caroline Garcia, once described as a future world No 1 by Andy Murray, is hoping to find some consistency in her game this season after impressing in a shock win over Carla Suarez Navarro yesterday.

Down a set and a break, Garcia staged a superb rally to down Suarez Navarro, the third seed, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in a rain-interrupted second-round match. The Frenchwoman was serving for the match at 5-3 and 15-all in the deciding third set when heavy rain and hail brought play to a stop.

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Garcia, 22, returned to Centre Court after three hours and 39 minutes to get the three points she needed for the win and was happy there were no late twists.

“When I arrived on court I was pretty fine,” said Garcia, who used the break to “change, eat, sleep and then rewarm up”.

“Then, when I started serving at 15-all … I mean, I knew I was still up and the pressure was on the other person. But you never know if she is going to change things or not.

“So, yeah, I had to make sure I serve pretty well, just try to stay calm, fight on every ball and put it back, and let her play the game. She had to take the risk, I was up.”

Pleased with the way she fought against Suarez Navarro right through the game, Garcia is hoping to reach that level of play more regularly and show some consistency, which has not really been her forte. In the past she has beaten grand slam winners such as Angelique Kerber, Petra Kvitova and Ana Ivanovic, and also has wins over top-10 players Jelena Jankovic and Agnieszka Radwanska, and yet she is ranked a relatively modest worlds No 38 at the moment, with her highest ranking being No 25 in March last year.

Watching her play against Maria Sharapova at the 2011 French Open, when she led the Russian 6-3, 4-1, an impressed Murray had tweeted: “The girl Sharapova is playing is going to be No 1 in the world one day ... what a player.”

Garcia would love to make the men’s world No 2 prediction come true, but it is never easy and the Frenchwoman realises that. Perhaps, that is the reason for her reluctance to talk about her goals.

“Yeah, I have my target, but I keep it for myself,” she said. “I just want to improve and, like I played today, try to be more solid on every point.

“Sometimes I was able to beat some good players, but then I was terrible the other days. So I just need to work hard and try to be consistent all through the year.”

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Published: February 17, 2016 04:00 AM

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