FORT WORTH, Texas —The Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia defeated Belarus Aryana Sabalenka in the closely fought two sets by 7-6 (4), 6-4 bringing the Dickies Arena crowd to its feet.
There wasn’t much to separate the two players in the match as both Garcia and Sabalenka fought so closely that their serve performance was “near perfect”. The first set featured zero serve breaks. However, Garcia edged her opponent in the aces number as she struck 11 total aces to keep Sabalenka at the corner.
With the WTA Finals title, she become the first French WTA Finals champion since Amélie Mauresmo won it in 2005. At the age of 29, she is also the oldest champion since Serena Williams lifted the trophy in 2014.
“To all the people I have been able to share the past up and to winning this trophy,” Garcia said on the court with the trophy.
“I met a lot of people along the way; some people are here, and some met me when I was a 12-year-old little girl. I took memories and positives from all those experiences. All these experiences made me a better person and a better player.”
Garcia returns to the top 5
Garcia last played in the tournament in 2017, when she reached her career-high ranking of number 4. The Saint-Germain-en-Laye native will return to her career-high position after beating the 7th seed in 1 hour and 41 minutes.
After featuring in the WTA finals in 2017, Garcia was suffering from injuries and inconsistent form which barred her from returning to the season-ending tournament of WTA for five good years.
However, in 2022 she returned back to her form after a great Summer Swing earning three titles and reaching her first-ever Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open.
On the other side, it wasn’t expected with Sabalenka to reach finals despite her being world number two at the beginning of 2022. She had a tough year where she choked in important points and struggled with her serve. She hit 20+ double faults in the first quarter of the year.
Sabalenka improved in the clay season and reached the semifinals in the US Open. In the semis of the WTA finals, she ended her 4 match-losing streaks against #1, Iga Swiatek.
In the last week, she has beaten each of the top 3, including world No. 2 Ons Jabeur and world No. 3 Jessica Pegula in her journey to the finals.
After forcing a tiebreaker, Sabalenka looked to have an edge with a great rally but Garcia replied back in style, winning six points straight.
Sabalenka’s form dipped in the second round allowing Garcia to break her for the first time. Sabalenka tried hard to break back but the French held the service with better resilience.
Sabalenka congratulated Garcia saying that she played “unbelievable tennis” throughout the year and not just in the match. ” I’m very sure there’s many more to come, and I hope we play more finals. We’ll see what happens in the next one!”, world no. 7 said.
Veronika Kudermetova and Elise Mertens win the doubles title
4th seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Elise Mertens stopped the run of defending champions Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in the doubles championship to beat at the WTA Finals on Monday night.
From being 7-2 down at one point of time in the match-tiebreak, the Kudermetova-Mertens duo came back to beat the top-ranked Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova 6-2, 4-6, [11-9]. Match lasted for 1 hour and 42 minutes.
This is the second team title of the season for the pair.
Kudermetova and Mertens converted all three of their breakpoints and made just three fewer unforced errors than the Czech pair. It was Kudermetova and Mertens who started the match aggressively in the final.
In the first set, the duo hit some powerful returns breaking the defending champions twice in a row, taking the lead to 4-0 and eventually taking away the first set.
After losing the first set, the Czech pair came firing in the second set.
At 9-8, Krejcikova and Siniakova saved a championship point but Kudermetova hit a crosscourt forehand in the next point to give her team another chance. At 10-9, a wide volley by Krejcikova resulted in the victory of the Kudermetova-Martens pair.