Last week was a good tennis week! Caroline Garcia won the WTA Finals, and Holger Rune took home the Paris Masters. Let’s look at This Week in Tennis.
Caroline Garcia won the WTA Finals
Caroline Garcia won the biggest title of her career as she defeated Aryna Sabalenka to win the 2022 WTA Finals. The Frenchwoman beat Sabalenka 7-6(4), 6-4 in the final to win her fourth title of the season.
In the first set, it was a serving masterclass from both players. Neither faced a breakpoint as they fired aces down the opposite ends of the court. However, Sabalenka couldn’t sustain this level of consistency in the tie-break. A few unforced errors and a couple of double faults crept into her game as she gifted the opening set to Garcia.
Garcia broke Sabalenka at the start of the second and didn’t look back as she held on to win the match in straight sets before falling on her back in disbelief.
Garcia’s comeback year
It’s been a surprising rise back to the top of the sport for Caroline.
After her breakthrough year in 2017, where she defeated five top-10 opponents and won back-to-back Masters 1000 events in Wuhan and Beijing, she has struggled to replicate this success.
Since being ranked outside the top 70 in June of this year, Garcia has won titles on grass, clay and hard courts and reached the semi-final of the US Open in September.
To reach the WTA season-end final, Garcia produced a mesmerizing performance to defeat Maria Sakkari in the semi-final, while Sabalenka took out world number 1 and favorite for the title, Iga Swiatek in three sets.
Garcia’s win at the WTA Final now means she finishes the year at a career-high of number 4 in the WTA singles rankings.
With her run to the final, Sabalenka ended the year ranked one player lower, at number 5.
Holger Rune into the top 10
There was also a shock win for Holger Rune over Novak Djokovic in the Paris Masters 1000 event. Although his lack of tennis may have been a cause for concern, Djokovic was still the heavy favorite coming into the match. He cruised through to the semi-final before digging in deep to defeat Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach his eighth Paris Masters final.
On the other hand, Rune’s route to the final was anything but straightforward. The young Dane saved three match points in his first-round match against Stan Wawrinka before defeating five top-10 players consecutively to reach the final.
Djokovic took an early lead and looked in control of the match, taking the first set 6-3. However, Rune came back, breaking the Serb early in the second to take the match in a decider.
In the third set, Djokovic raced to a 3-1 lead before Rune clawed his way back in the match with some incredible defence and miraculous passing shots. A forehand miss from Djokovic at 5-5 gave Rune a chance to serve for his first Masters title.
Understandably, the task wasn’t easy. Djokovic created six breakpoints in the final game, but the Dane saved them with big-serving and aggressive play. The gruelling 16-minute game came to an end after Djokovic hit a half-volley into the net.
Rune fell on his back, in front of a packed-out arena in Paris, as the realisation he had won his first Masters 1000 title sunk in.
With the win, Rune rises to a career-high of number 10 in the ATP rankings.
Holger Rune uses a Babolat Pure Aero VS.