Since this summer, Caroline Garcia has been one of the best players in the world and she proved it on Monday night in Forth Worth where she captured the most prestigious title of her career at the WTA Finals thanks to a 7-6(4), 6-4 victory over Aryna Sabalenka who also enjoyed the best week of her life in Texas.
While the two finalists were somewhat unexpected given the great form that Iga Swiatek and Ons Jabeur were in heading into the event, it’s also fitting that they were the last two left standing. Both players represent nice redemption stories who deserved the chance to finish the 2022 season on a high note and they’ll certainly be ones to watch heading into the Australian Open.
“It’s definitely a lot of giant happiness,” Garcia said in her post-match press conference. “A crazy final, a lot of intensity on every point. Just really proud of the work we did through all the year. It was a great match — really went for it. I’m really happy to win my biggest title.”
Garcia became the second French player to win the WTA Finals, following in the footsteps of Amélie Mauresmo who captured the title in 2005. The 29-year-old veteran won all the finals she played this year and, going back six years, eight of nine. Her newly aggressive game plan paid huge dividends with her results. In addition to her WTA Finals triumph, she also won in Cincinnati as a qualifier and reached the semifinals of the U.S. Open. Back in 2017, Garcia scored a first career breakthrough by winning the Wuhan and Beijing WTA 1000 events, a run which vaulted her into the Top 10 for the first time. Following a string of tough injuries, she eventually slid down the rankings and struggled to win matches. That’s when she decided to step in and adopt a take-the-ball-early strategy.
As for Sabalenka, her power from the baseline is a sight to behold, but she struggled mightily with her serve this season which affected her confidence and her win-loss record. In Forth Worth, her serve stabilized and suddenly she was the formidable opponent that everyone expected.
In doubles, Elise Mertens and Veronika Kudermetova lifted the winner’s trophies after beating defending champions Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova 6-2, 4-6, 11-9. Meanwhile, Ottawa’s Gabriela Dabrowski competed in the event for the fourth time in her career. She and Giuliana Olmos finished the group stage with a 1-2 record.
Considering the impressive depth in the women’s game, the 2023 WTA season is shaping up to be an exciting one and fans can expect some familiar faces like Toronto’s Bianca Andreescu, Naomi Osaka as well as Angelique Kerber to once again become fixtures at the top of rankings and in the business end of tournaments.