Tuesday, October 03, 2023

Caroline Garcia overcomes Aryna Sabalenka to clinch WTA Finals title

PUNJAB NEWS LINE | November 08, 2022 04:23 PM

Fort Worth, Texas:France's Caroline Garcia clinched the WTA Finals title with an impressive 7-6 (4), 6-4 victory over Aryna Sabalenka in the final, here.

With her victory on Monday night, the 29-year-old from Lyon also became the oldest WTA Finals titleholder after Serena Williams, who won the championships at 33 in 2014.

"It's definitely a lot of giant happiness. 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", said Garcia, who clawed her way out of a group including top-ranked Iga Swiatek, Coco Gauff and Daria Kasatkina.

No. 6 Garcia is the second Frenchwoman to win the tournament after Amelie Mauresmo, who beat compatriot Mary Pierce in 2005.

On the other hand, Sabalenka, ranked seventh, was trying to become the first player from Belarus to win the WTA Finals after eliminating Swiatek in the semi-finals.

Through the first 12 games of the first set against Garcia, Sabalenka was nearly flawless on serve. There was only a single double fault -- and she actually won a higher percentage of second serves than first. But in the tiebreak, two errant backhands backed her into a corner and those nerves produced two double faults.

The second one ended the set and, effectively, her chances for victory -- especially when Garcia broke her to open the second set. It was the only break point of the match.

"I'm not going to say thank you to my team because it's so many double faults, you guys are such a bad team -- no, no, no, I'm joking," Sabalenka said.

And then she got emotional, tears coming to her eyes.

"It's been a challenging year for us. Thank you so much for your support," she added.

Garcia, too, was moved by the match. She'll finish the year at No.4, equaling a career best.

"Sometimes you are emotional or things don't go your way. I mean, sometimes there is a big fight, so you have to find your way through it. Some points, where you cannot do anything. You just try to put in the return and to run as fast as you can to the other side," said Garcia.

"And that was one of the biggest points I improved. Today one of the most important things was to stay calm and jump on every opportunity," she added.

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