“It’s hard to believe I am standing here today–It’s been quite a week,” France’s Caroline Garcia said beaming after her win over Petra Kvitova in straight sets. The Frenchwoman has had hurdles to overcome since the beginning of the tournament but kept her mind grounded to her main goal at the Western and Southern to go deep and be successful in Cincinnati.
Garcia ranked number 35, can clearly remember when she didn’t have to qualify to get into a tournament but won her qualifying rounds to land into Cincinnati’s main draw. She mentally had to shake off the previous opening round loss at Toronto to enter the Western and Southern.
Caroline knew how important it was to keep positive on her trek and she did just that. It was with style she defeated three top 10 players: Maria Sakkari, Jessica Pegula and Aryna Sabalenka to enter the final round. “It’s pure joy, and happiness, you know,” the Frenchwoman said frankly.
Caroline’s win didn’t come easy as she had to spend more than 13 hours on the court and blasting 34 aces to defeat her opponents. She had no idea the result would be of her holding up her 7th career title. But this season she had two other titles one at Warsaw and the other at Bad Homburg.
Garcia’s strategies of aggressive play, change up in tactics and taking her opportunites and making good were excellent recipes for winning at Cincy. The final started looking dodgy though with rain delays and not knowing if she could keep her winning momentum going.
“Thanks for drying the courts so many times” she smiled while directing her attention to the ball persons who worked tirelessly to prepare courts after a downpour. Caroline’s opponent was the iconic Petra Kvitova who she’d gotten an opening set on at 6-2, but the following set Kvitova would trail 0-2 and needed a medical timeout afte falling.
The Frenchwoman might have thought it would be a retirement, an easy title to accomplish but Kvitova forged on but still trailed now 4-0 unable to overpower the defiant Garcia. Kvitova was grateful saying “Definitely not the result I wanted…I was in the final and and (for that) I’m very happy…I could have been out in my first match…”
The competition was grueling and both players were happy for what they had achieved. Kvitova still able to make final rounds was her big things. Garcia gave her opponent credit saying “She’s a great champion she did so many finals.”
But the time was Caroline’s who was the first qualifier in history town a WTA 1000 title as well as the first Frenchwoman since 2017 and defeating three top ten players to get to the winner’s circle. Garcia was all smiles mixed with a bit of happy tears giving away just a bit of her winning recipe, “I tried to play my game…I enjoy putting the pressure on the other one.”
But she admitted with the last slam –the US Open pushing close she couldn’t have said it better that “This is a great time to push forward.”