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By Richard Pagliaro | Sunday, August 21, 2022


Caroline Garcia hit 11 aces beating Petra Kvitova 6-2, 6-4 to make history as the first qualifier to win Cincinnati. It is Garcia's 10th career title.

Photo credit: Western & Southern Open Facebook

Summer season is Caroline Garcia's transformation time.

Today, Garcia completed masterful metamorphosis from qualifier to Cincinnati champion.

Watch: Federer Resumes Hitting

Garcia zapped 11 aces and erased all eight break points she faced fending off Petra Kvitova 6-2, 6-4 in the Cincinnati final to collect her 10th career title.

It's a monumental moment for Garcia, who made history as the first qualifier to win Cincinnati. The victory vaults Garcia, who was ranked as low as No. 79 earlier this summer, back to the Top 20 at No. 17 in the live rankings. 

The 28-year-old Garcia improved to 10-3 in WTA finals, denying Kvitova her 30th career championship.

"It's hard to believe I am standing here today—it's been such a week," Garcia said. "Huge congrats to Petra, you are one of the nicest girls on tour. It's always a pleasure to see you around with your team. Lot of respect for everything in your career, you are such a champion.."

 A red-hot Garcia has won a WTA-best 27 matches since June 1st defeating four Top 10 opponents in the last month alone compared to her one Top 10 win in each of her last three seasons. After losing her first set in her first round of qualifying to compatriot Diane Parry, Garcia won eight matches in eight days, including defeating Top 10 players Maria Sakkari, Jessica Pegula and Aryna Sabalenka en route to her third WTA 1000 championship.

Solidifying her status as an all-surface champion, Garcia has claimed three titles on three different surfaces in the past two months and will arrive in New York as one of several leading favorites to win the US Open. 

In June, Garcia conquered compatriot Alize Cornet and 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in gritty three-set wins to capture the Bad Homburg title on grass.

Last month, Garcia capped a wondrous week on Warsaw's red clay that saw her snap home hero Iga Swiatek's 18-match clay-court winning streak with a rousing 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 upset of the world No. 1 in the Poland Open quarterfinals. It was Garcia's first win over a reigning world No. 1 in 10 attempts and showcased her all-court acumen and piercing return game she used to sweep Ana Bogdan 6-4, 6-1 in the Warsaw final.

Today, Garcia dictated play for periods with her serve and return winning 41 of 50 first-serve points in a one hour, 42-minute triumph over the two-time Wimbledon champion.

A threat of thunderstorms hovered overhead as the pair took center court.

Tennis Express

 A deluge of deep returns from Garcia helped her take charge early. Kvitova dumped two double faults in a row to give Garcia the break in the opening game.

The French qualifier fended off a couple of break points then banged a 113 mph serve into the body to back up the break.

"I think that both of us was facing some breakpoints, and somebody did it better and somebody no," Kvitova said. "That's I think was the key of the whole match in the end of the day. I was fighting to get on the board back. Didn't happen. That's why I lost. But, I mean, it was tough, for sure, of course.

"In my first game I was still a bit tight, tired, didn't serve very well, and she was just on the board. Then I had opportunity, but she saved it. I think from that point she got some confidence and she just went for it, which it's her game, so it's not surprising."

Two-time Wimbledon winner Kvitova is a dangerous server, particularly on fast surfaces. Garcia refused to back off her aggressive return positioning. Pouncing on a Kvitova second serve, Garcia lashed a deep return that slammed near the Czech's shoelaces breaking at 30 for 3-0. Garcia stamped the first love hold of the match extending her lead to 4-0.

Seeking to stabilize, Kvitova issued consecutive love holds. Untouchable on serve, Garcia zapped her fourth ace and followed with a bounce smash for set point. A biting Garcia serve down the T wrapped up the 40-minute opening set.

When Kvitova steered a forehand wide, Garcia gained the opening-game service break for the second straight set.

After Garcia held for a 6-2, 2-0 lead, Kvitova called for the trainer and left the court for a medical timeout for an apparent leg issue.  Garcia hit a few serves and sprinted in place to stay loose while the 32-year-old Czech received treatment inside.

Following a nine-minute break for the medical timeout, Kvitova returned to court and held to snap a three-game slide and get on the board.

Afterward, Kvitova declined to detail the injury because she didn't want to detract from Garcia's victory.

"I don't think this is deserved to talk about my injury right now after losing a final, but definitely I will see tomorrow how bad it is," Kvitova said. "It was just one movement which I felt straight pain and, yeah, that's why I called the physio. Yeah, we will see."

Staring down triple break point in the sixth game, Garcia made a spirited stand.

The Frenchwoman slashed successive aces then played stubborn defense to deny the third break point. By then, the two-time Roland Garros double champion had erased all eight break points she faced. Garcia ripped her eighth ace and followed with a slick forehand drive volley capping a brilliant service game for 4-2.

Every time Kvitova posed pressure, Garcia delivered an immediate answer. Pressed to 30-all, Garcia slid her ninth ace and a serve winner for 5-3.

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Serving for her 10th title, Garcia opened with her 10th ace. Pounding down her 11th ace brought Garcia championship point.  A serve down the middle coaxed a netted return as Garcia dropped to her knees and then fell flat on her back.

Minutes after the final ended, Garcia was still giving her all. She engaged in a group hug with her coach and physio wiping back tears of joy then handed her towel and sweatbands to a few fans who supported her throughout the match.  


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