Caroline Garcia Ends 2022 Resurgence By Winning Biggest Title Of Career At WTA Finals - UBITENNIS
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Caroline Garcia Ends 2022 Resurgence By Winning Biggest Title Of Career At WTA Finals

Six months ago Garcia wasn’t even ranked inside the world’s top 50.

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Comeback kid Caroline Garcia has ended what has been a remarkable season on a high by becoming only the second Frenchwoman to win the WTA Finals. 

The world No.6 edged her way past the heavy-hitting Aryna Sabalenka 7-6(6), 6-4, in what was a tense encounter. Sabalenka entered the match having become only the third woman since 2000 to beat all of the world’s top three players in the same tournament. Nevertheless, it was Garcia who had the edge in the final with the help of 24 winners and 11 aces. 

“It’s been a crazy, crazy final. A lot of intensity on every single point from the first. I’m just really proud of the work we (my team) did throughout the year and this great match. I really went for it and I’m really, really happy to have won my biggest title.” Said the new champion. 
“I really tried to fight on every single point. And sometimes she gave me a few, few points here and there and it made the difference at the end.” She added. 

Garcia, who was two points away from getting knocked out of the group stages, has become only the fourth woman in history to have won the season-ending title after turning 29. She has now achieved eight wins over a top-10 player this season which is a career-best for her. 

The triumph is a remarkable outcome for Garcia who back in June was ranked outside the world’s top 70 and hadn’t contested a Tour final for three years. Within the past six months, she became the only WTA player this year to have won titles on three different surfaces and reached the US Open semi-finals. 

Part of Garcia’s resurgence has been due to a change in her mentality. She joked earlier this year that she plays best when she shut up and is not so animated on the court. 

“It was pretty obvious every time when I was starting to talk, complain and say ridiculous things on court, it was not really going my way. I was losing a lot of energy,” she explained. 
“I was losing focus. And every single time when things were not easy or not going my way, but I was able to not say a word and really focus on the next point, I made some great comebacks.”

Runner-up Sabalenka can also draw positives from her time in Fort Worth despite missing out on the title. Until the tournament, she had only defeated two top-10 players this season on the Tour. The Belarussian has scored wins over Iga Swiatek, Ons Jabeur and Jessica Pegula earlier in the tournament.

“I think this week was really positive for me. A lot of good things happened this week. It was a very tough loss but I did my best,” said Sabalenka. “She played unbelievable tennis. So I’m disappointed with this loss but it happens and I think I’m on the right path.”
“I just dropped my level a little bit. On the tiebreak and in the first game of the second set, and that’s it. Those were the key moments, I dropped my level, that’s it.”

Garcia is the first Frenchwoman to win the WTA Finals since Amelie Mauresmo in 2005 and the first to end a season in the year-end top-five since 2006. She closes out 2022 with 43 wins against 20 losses. 

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Emma Raducanu Confident Of Full Fitness Ahead Of Grass Swing

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Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has no regrets about her decision to skip the French Open and now believes she is in a ‘really fit place’ ahead of Wimbledon. 

The former US Open champion opted to end her clay season earlier than other players to focus on fitness and training with her coach. Raducanu stated earlier this year that her primary focus in 2024 is on her health after undergoing a series of wrist and ankle surgeries last year which sidelined her for months. 

Raducanu will return to action this week at the Nottingham Open, which is the event where she made her WTA main draw debut back in 2021. Despite her lack of match play in recent weeks, the Brit is feeling good and relishing her return to the grass.

“Body-wise, physical-wise, I feel really healthy,” she said on Monday.
“I’ve done amazing work with my trainer over the last few months, since surgery. I’m in a really fit place. I’m healthy and just looking forward to starting playing.”

Shedding more light on her health, Raducanu says she has full confidence in her wrists and believes they are in top condition. Making her feel more at ease when playing matches on the Tour. 

“I think my wrists are actually in a better position than they ever were. So there’s zero doubt or apprehension whether I’m hitting the ball or designing my schedule,” she explained.
“It’s more about being proactive and not wanting to put yourself in any unnecessary situations. I don’t need to rush and try to win the French Open, it wasn’t my goal this year.
“I had to prioritise where I wanted to target and it was just a good block for me to get some physical work done.”

Raducanu has played seven WTA events so far this season with her best run being to the quarter-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she was beaten by world No.1 Iga Swiatek. The 21-year-old is currently ranked 209th in the world. 

At the Nottingham Open, she will play her first match on Tuesday against Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara. 

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Russian World No.78 Elina Avanesyan To Switch Nationalities

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A week after losing her fourth round match at the French Open, a government minister has confirmed that Elina Avanesyan is in the process of changing the nationality of who she plays for. 

The 21-year-old is switching her aligence from Russia to Armenia, according to Armenia’s deputy Minister of International Affairs and communication. Karen Giloyan has told the news agency Armenpress that Avanesyan will soon be representing his country. However, the tennis player has yet to comment on the matter.  Avanesyan was born in Russia but has Armenian parents.

“Elina Avanesyan will compete under the Armenian flag, but there is nothing official yet. We are waiting for her to get the citizenship of the Republic of Armenia so that everything will be official,” Giloyan told Armenpress.

Such a development would be a massive coup for the Armenian tennis federation which currently doesn’t have a player ranked inside the top 500 on either the men’s or women’s Tour. The country has a population of less than 3M. Perhaps their best-known player is Sargis Sargsian who reached the top 40 back in 2004. Others on the Tour also have Armenian heritage but don’t represent the country such as Karen Khachanov.  

Avanesyan is currently ranked 78th in the world, which is 18 places below her career high. This season, she has scored high-profile wins over Maria Sakkari at the Australian Open, Ons Jabeur in Charleston and Qinwen Zhang at the French Open. 

She has yet to play in the final of a WTA tournament.

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Iga Looks To Be In A league All to Herself At Paris

Iga Swiatek claimed her fourth Roland Garros title in Paris.

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Just call her Iga. No other identification is needed.

As the years go by, Iga’s notoriety is sure to grow.

She’s probably already earned a spot in tennis’ Hall of Fame.

Yes, Iga Swiatek is a name to remember. A hero in her native Poland, a superstar in the world of sports.

IGA WAS JUST TOO GOOD

Iga just added to her stardom Saturday with an impressive 6-2, 6-1 victory over little-known Italian Jasmine Paolini to win her third straight French Open title. This was Paolini’s chance to make a name for herself, but she didn’t have the game to make it happen.

Iga was just too good. She made it look too easy.

Paolini could hit some great ground strokes, but when she looked up a bigger shot was on its way back. Iga doesn’t look like a power hitter, but she is.

WINNING 10 CONSECUTIVE GAMES

The 23-year-old Polish Wonder finished the first set winning five straight games, then started the second set winning five more games in succession. The 28-year-old Paolini didn’t seem to have a clue on how to upend Swiatek.

It took just 78 minutes for Iga to win her fifth Grand Slam title.

She’s a lot like her French Open hero, Rafa Nadal.

She takes every match seriously.

SWIATEK OWNS THE RED CLAY

No wonder Iga owns a 35-2 record at Roland Garos. Or that she has won 21 straight matches. Or that she owns a 5-0 record in Grand Slam finals.

She only dominated opponents, except for Naomi Osaka in the second round. Swiatek escaped a match point in that one and didn’t look back.

Iga’s game should be just as superb on the green grass of upcoming Wimbledon.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.

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