Caroline Garcia wins the WTA Finals: ‘She dashed all over the place’

Caroline Garcia
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Over the past 30 years, in the, only four players have won hte WTA Finals without taking a Grand Slam: Agnieszka Radwańska, Dominika Cibulková, Elina Svitolina and now, it is Caroline Garcia.

The now-cool veteran Garcia was never broken and beat the powerful Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (4), 6-4. Sabalenka, who had a terrific week in Fort Worth. When she became frustrated, she turned it around. She was very close against the Frenchwomen. But, when the match was to be decided, Garcia would go for it with a lot of depth and creativity. While Sabalenka looked very good, but when she had the opening to pull it into the third set, she made some odd errors. 

Garcia was super-focused, and she dashed all over the place. That was pretty surprising, because 10 years ago, she looked very decent, but she was not excellent all the time. On court, she could be intense, but at other times, she would mentally walk away.

But not now. In the past three months, she looked very strong, and finally realized that if she could push her with her forehand, backhand and her terrific first serve, then she could beat anyone.

After beating Sabalenka, she said, “I had to try something new, and I like to challenge when I am going. That was very important.”

Not only did she beat Sabalenka, but it the semis, she almost stunned the No. 1, Iga Świątek. She really earned it. She was very calm and very effective. Plus, Garcia had to play almost every day, and really, it did not matter. Yes, everyone can be tired, but Garcia edged Daria Kasatkina 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (5) in 2 hours, 27 minutes. The next day, she prevailed again, with no fear.

Next year, the now No. 4 Garcia has a chance to win a Grand Slam. She has won 11 titles on hard courts and on grass in singles. But on the clay, she has been spotty. However she won Roland Garros in doubles twice. Maybe next year, she can win it in singles in Paris. That would be phenomenal.

Rune takes down top-10 players to win Paris 1000
Instead on saluting the veterans, how about Holger Rune, the 19-year-old who sort of stunned Novak Djokovic in three long sets in Paris? In January, he was ranked No. 103, and now he is currently No. 10. What a turned around! There are not many teenagers to enter into the top 10, such as Rafa Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz.

The Dane Rune was surprised about moving up so quickly.  “I didn’t expect that at all four or five weeks ago but now I’m here,” said Rune. “I’m super happy how I officially ended my season, and if there possibly is more matches.” He will be the first alternate at the ATP Finals. If he plays, then more of the tennis world will see just how good he is.

Rune has won 19 of his past 21 matches, beating four top 10 other players: Stefanos Tsitsipas, Hubert Hurkacz, Andrey Rublev and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

One of his coaches, Patrick Mouratoglou, who also works with the WTA players and appears on TV, too, said: “We have to be very transparent on this. He can progress. He can improve much more. There are elements where he can actually improve very much,” Mouratoglou said. “We are reaching the end of the season. We will work on that. It’s not really that there is a danger, but there is a lot of work to provide. He’s Top 10. It’s not his ambition. I don’t know [if] we have seen actually his top tennis. It’s higher than before, but we have to upgrade his average tennis play and to make sure that his normal average play is as excellent as we have seen so far.”

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