Caroline Garcia is a Grand Slam champion…
The 22-year-old part-Spanish tennis player and her partner Kristina Mladenovic gave the Paris crowd a home victory to cheer as they won the women’s doubles title at the French Open.
The French duo, seeded seventh, beat Russian fifth seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 6-3 2-6 6-4.
The rare triumph for the home nation gives Garcia and Mladenovic their first Grand Slam title, having only teamed up this year with a target of playing at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
They have now won titles in Charleston, Stuttgart, Madrid and Paris.
The last French victors in women’s doubles in the clay-court major at Roland Garros were Gail Chanfreau and Francoise Durr, who won in 1970 and then defended their title the following year.
“So there are the big tournaments that we have already won, which is a good success in itself, but winning a Grand Slam, and here in Roland Garros, it’s 10 steps above what is logical or normal,” Mladenovic said. “To win here with Caroline at Roland Garros, it’s incredible.”
Mladenovic and Garcia, who have lost just one match together on clay this season, got off to a bright start and built a 5-0 lead.
Makarova and Vesnina fought hard and saved six set points before Mladenovic served out the opener. But a change in the momentum saw the Russians take control of the match as they leveled it by taking the second set.
Mladenovic and Garcia kept their composure as pressure mounted toward the end of the decider, winning 12 of the last 15 points.