Caroline Garcia capped off a remarkable six months in her tennis career by winning the WTA Finals with a 7-6 6-4 victory over Aryna Sabalenka in Fort Worth, Texas.
Garcia was outside the top 70 in the world rankings as recently as June, but since then has been in superb form, culminating in the biggest title of her career on Monday.
‘Certainly a lot of giant happiness’ is how the 29-year-old described her emotions after beating Sabalenka in straight sets – taking the first set in a tie-break then smashing her opponent in the opener of the second set.
The victory makes Garcia the second French player to win the WTA Tour season-ending tournament after Amélie Mauresmo in 2005.
It also sees her rise to the top of her career at No. 4 in the world rankings and take home $1.57 million in prize money.
In a tight first set, Garcia produced a ruthless serve performance – hitting 10 aces and winning 81.5% of her first-serve points – and arrived at the net with good spin.
Sabalenka, who had ousted world No. to Garcia the first set.
It’s the familiar story of Sabalenka’s season with the Belarusian recording 425 double faults in total; no other player has finished in the 300 this year, according to the WTA website.
In the first game of the second set, Garcia broke Sabalenka with a powerful forehand return after setting the contest’s first break point, then proceeded to serve the match and wrap up her fourth title since June.
“With this tournament, I think from game to game I really got better and better,” Garcia told Tennis Channel while sporting a Texas cowboy hat.
Despite losing to Swiatek last week, Garcia recorded wins over Coco Gauff, Daria Kasatkina and Maria Sakkari on course to beat Sabalenka in the final.