Caroline Garcia eased into the third round of the Australian Open tennis news

Australian Open: Caroline Garcia beat Lelah Fernandez in straight sets on Thursday© AFP

World number four Caroline Garcia admitted she was relieved to beat tricky left-hander Lelah Fernandez in straight sets on Thursday to reach the third round of the Australian Open. France’s Garcia beat the 20-year-old former US Open finalist 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 in 1 hour 52 minutes at Rod Laver Arena to set up a meeting with Germany’s Laura Sigmund. “I’m pleased because she was very alert all the time and won her service games very easily,” said Garcia, the world number 40 from Canada.

At the end of a high-quality first set, which featured a break of service each, Fernandez stepped up a gear early in the tiebreak, extending the lead to 4-0.

But a double fault at 4-1 snuffed out Garcia and he fought back at 6-5 and sealed the set with an ace.

Neither could break through early in the second set and keep the pressure on Garcia Fernandez, who lost to Emma Raducanu in the 2021 Flushing Meadows final.

“He used the slice very well on serve,” Garcia said. “So I had to make a lot of adjustments and the winner was going to be the one who was more aggressive inside the court.”

Then at 5-5, Fernandez finally cracked when Garcia finally broke and then served for the match, celebrating with Anand’s trademark jump.

Garcia returned to the top five last year after a difficult couple of years where injuries left him in form.

Garcia has won 38 tour-level matches since June 2022, including titles on three surfaces — clay, grass and hard court — to rebound from a world ranking of 74th at the start of last season.

The best moment came when she won the season-ending WTA Tour Finals in Fort Worth.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)

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