Driven by a desire and an irresistible momentum, imperial on the court, Caroline Garcia offered herself a first final of the WTA Masters for her second participation, by beating 6-3, 6-2 the Greek Maria Sakkari, Sunday November 6 in Fort Worth (Texas). The twenty-nine-year-old player is already doing better than in 2017, when she failed in the semi-finals of the event, then defeated by the American Venus Williams.
At the time, she had arrived in Singapore at the last minute, euphoric after two titles gleaned in China, at the WTA 1000 in Wuhan and Beijing. This time, it is in uncertainty, after the unexpected departure of coach Bertrand Perret, citing problems that have arisen in recent weeks, that the Lyonnaise has approached the tournament.
And it is clear that she has found the mental resources to pursue her dream: to become the second Frenchwoman to add her name to the list, after Amélie Mauresmo, who was crowned at the expense of Mary Pierce in 2005, during a final 100% tricolor from another time.
After a solid start against Coco Gauff for her first group match, Garcia, while sometimes playing very good tennis, then fell to world number one Iga Swiatek. She could also find the Polish in the final, winner of eight titles gleaned in 2022 including Roland-Garros and the US Open, who will first have to get rid of Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka in the evening.
Facing Sakkari, fifth player in the world, against whom she had a slight psychological advantage for having beaten her in their two previous confrontations, Garcia achieved her most accomplished score of the tournament. Betting more than ever on her aggressiveness, she constantly put her opponent on the back foot and often at fault. The only time the Frenchman sinned was to confirm her first break in the first set. For the rest he was a lone rider.
Sharp on the return, placed well inside the court, she took advantage of Sakkari’s low first-ball percentage (37%) to win the first set in just over half an hour of play. also insisted on the backhand of the Greek, deporting her to better finish her points along the line.
Despite a 2:27 fight as physically and mentally taxing the day before to beat Kasatkina, “Caro” did not show any signs of fatigue thereafter. She again stepped on the accelerator in the second set, started with two consecutive breaks to break away four games to zero.
Everything succeeded in this match, like this volley amortized in extension to annihilate a passing yet well executed by Sakkari, who was only to let go of his shots to keep up with the infernal pace imposed by his rival.
The Frenchwoman, who lined up the winning shots (twenty-one), has also been very effective on serve, with six aces to swell her total to 379 this season, an area where she is sure to finish in first place ahead of the Kazakh. Elena Rybakina (370).
For “Caro”to be in the final of the Masters is an enormous satisfaction after six difficult last weeks, victim of a phenomenon of decompensation after a flamboyant summer, which had seen her win three titles (Bad Homburg, Warsaw, Cincinnati), before reaching the semifinals at the US Open.
A rebirth, after more than four years without brilliance, between crisis of confidence, tennis in distress and recurring physical worries, which she managed to overcome this year, in a spectacular way, thanks to her work carried out with Bertrand Perret, dominating in her success and his rise from seventy-fifth to sixth place in the world.
Without him now, therefore, but always with her parents to surround her and the punctual help of the Argentinian coach Juan Pablo Guzman, who had already worked with her last year, she regains momentum at the best time. In the heart of a rodeo of strong emotions in the heart of Texas, she can, at the cost of a last effort, finish her flight on a piece of paradise.