Alison loses to former world number four after intense battle

Alison played some fine tennis for most of her match at the Country Hall in Liège but it wasn’t enough to give Belgium the lead. Alison lost in three sets to former world number four Caroline Garcia 6-7 (2/7) 6-4 2-6.

Alison scored several lovely points in the first set: sending a fine backhand long line or getting to the net at the right time was part of her game plan. She also easily won her own servicegames. Garcia did the same. Both players were firmly in control of their servicegames. Alison did have some bad luck in the seventh game: at 30-30 a line judge called out Garcia’s strike but then, rightfully, changed his call. Ali did hit the return but the umpire immediately gave the point to the French player.

At 5-6 and 15-30 Alison was already under pressure but she did well to get out of it, hitting three straight winning serves. In the tie-break she unfortunately lost the first five points. Garcia didn’t miss her chance to win the breaker 2-7. In the third game of the second set, Garcia played a return into Alison’s feet. This meant break point and after a forehand error Ali was trailing by 1 game to 2. She responded very strong though: a good start in the next game, a backhand error from Garcia and with another good return Ali forced her opponent to make another error: 2-2.

Alison had all the momentum in the match and was increasingly playing better. There was a terrific passing shot on her way to 3-2, which was followed by two love games on Ali’s own serve. Excellent tennis going forward, another great backhand down the line and a stunner return forced another break and helped Alison to win the set by 6 games to 4. It looked like Alison could go on to win but unfortunately things turned around after a 1-1-score in the third set.