Tennis: the tornado Garcia, stronger than the rain, climbs to the final in Cincinnati

Tennis: the tornado Garcia, stronger than the rain, climbs to the final in Cincinnati

The French qualified for the final of the American tournament by defeating Aryna Sabalenka (6-2, 4-6, 6-1).

Unstoppable, despite a sore left arm and the rain disrupting her progress, Caroline Garcia qualified for the final of the WTA 1000 in Cincinnati, the last major rehearsal on hard court before the US Open, beating Aryna Sabalenka on Saturday. The 28-year-old Frenchwoman, 35th in the world, won in three sets (6-2, 4-6, 6-1) at the expense of Belarus (7th).

“It feels good! I had a long run in Cincinnati. I’m proud of what I’m doing and I’m happy to be in the final tomorrow, with one more match to play”, welcomed the hot one who became the first player from qualifications to reach a WTA final. 1000. She will try to win a third tournament in this category, just below the Grand Slams, against the Czech Petra Kvitova (28th).

Garcia, who had gleaned his first two WTA 1000 in Wuhan and Beijing in 2017, before reaching the semi-finals of the Masters in Singapore, returns this summer to his best level after years of irregular results. She has now accumulated 25 victories since June, thanks to an impressive career that saw her win in June in Bad Homburg and in July in Warsaw, where she had in passing the scalp of the world number 1 Iga Swiatek. No one is currently doing better on the circuit.

In her strong moments, Garcia was intractable against Sabalenka, one of the most powerful players on the circuit, who led 2 to 1 in their confrontations, as she was to successively dismiss the world number 3 Maria Sakkari in the 2nd round, the Belgian Elise Mertens (33rd) in 8th and the American (8th) in quarters. His first set was a model of aggression and precision. She lined up 5 aces, 13 winners against 3, and committed only 3 unforced errors against 13 for Belarus, then totally overwhelmed.

After an initial two-and-a-half-hour rain break, Sabalenka, who was chasing a 12th title at Ohio, made adjustments that paid off in the second set, including a return, which allowed her to break three times. in a row. Once more than the Frenchwoman, who lost the rhythm and had a bandage placed on her left forearm. In the third set, Garcia got back on the right track, controlling the exchange better, to break (3-1). She barely had time to let out a “Come on!” that the rain again fell in torrents.

An hour and a half later, Sabalenka accumulated unforced errors, opening a highway to the final for the Frenchwoman, who could exult, under the eyes of former champion Martina Navratilova. “What a day it has been! Aryna is such a tough opponent, so fast and so strong. We had a lot of very tough rallies, in difficult conditions. We never knew when we were going to come back on the court … ”, said Garcia again.
Petra Kvitova as a regular

She will try to win the 10th title of her career, against Petra Kvitova, a regular at the WTA 1000 finals, since it will be her 12th after winning eight. The 32-year-old Czech has beaten her five times in eight meetings. Kvitova, twice champion at Wimbledon (2011, 2014) and who had never gone beyond the semi-final stage in Ohio, hardly beat 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 6-3 Madison Keys ( 24th), winner of the event in 2019. “It was an incredible match, I expected it to be difficult – but not this hard,” said Kvitova.

After the loss of the first set in the tie-break, weighed down by a then failing service (10 double faults in total), she ended up foiling the American, whose striking power was often betrayed by her clumsiness. Kvitova, who is aiming for a 30th title on the circuit, excelled in defense in the second set, removed on her third opportunity. In the aftermath, the Czech broke at the start of the third set. An advantage maintained until the end, to win in 2h20 on his third match point.

Tennis