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By Tennis Now | Sunday, February 10, 2019

Caroline Garcia

Caroline Garcia topped Elise Mertens, 6-2, 6-3, clinching the visitors' conquest of Belgium and sending France into its fourth Fed Cup semifinal in the last five years.

Photo credit: Fed Cup Facebook

Caroline Garcia's triumphant comeback sealed France's Fed Cup final four return.

Playing her first Fed Cup tie since 2016, Garcia denied all three break points she faced in a clinical 6-2, 6-3, conquest of Elise Mertens clinching France's victory over host Belgium on hard court in Liège.

Attacking the Belgian's forehand, Garcia smacked seven of her 12 winners from her forehand wing.

The French No. 1 accounted for two of France's three singles wins giving Les Bleus an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the best-of-five match tie.

It was Garcia's fifth straight Fed Cup singles victory.

The victory vaults France into its fourth Fed Cup semifinal in the last five years.

Fourth-seeded France will face either defending champion Czech Republic or Romania in the April 20-21st semifinals. If the Czech Republic advances, it will host France; if Romania reaches its first semifinal it will travel to France for the semifinals.

Garcia opened the quarterfinal with a hard-fought 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-2, victory over Alison Van Uytvanck.

Teammate Alize Cornet beat back Mertens, 7-6 (6), 6-2, setting the stage for Garcia to clinch a semifinal spot today.

Bursting out to a 3-0 lead after a mere 11 minutes of play, Garcia struck with bold aggression. The 19th-ranked Frenchwoman denied a pair of break points holding for 4-2.

The Mertens forehand was not as stable at crunch time as Garcia broke again to claim a one-set lead that saw her commit only six unforced errors.

Playing with relaxed confidence, Garcia rolled to a 4-1 second-set lead and never looked back giving French captain Julien Benneteau a debut victory.

Belgium's Ysaline Bonaventure and Kirsten Flipkens won the dead doubles rubber to put Belgium on the board in the final match.


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