Caroline Garcia makes history as first qualifier to win a WTA 1000 tournament

Caroline Garcia

France’s Caroline Garcia continued her strong recent form with a dominant display in the Cincinnati Masters that earned her a third WTA 1000 title.

Garcia’s triumph was also her tenth career title and the third trophy she has lifted this year.

The 25-year-old Frenchwoman defeated Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-4 and in the process became the first qualifier to ever win a WTA 1000-level event.

Garcia was ranked 35th in the world coming into the tournament but she will return to the top 20 next week.

Nobody on the WTA Tour has won more matches than Garcia since Roland Garros and she has won a title on grass, one on clay and now one on a hard court.

It has been nearly five years since Garcia won back-to-back WTA 1000 events in Wuhan and Beijing.

During her summer hot streak, Garcia has become the WTA Tour’s ace leader and her serve got her out of trouble on a few occasions.

Garcia sent down 11 aces in Sunday’s Cincinnati Masters final against Kvitova to increase her tally for the year to an incredible 286.

She now has a 10-3 record in WTA Finals and Garcia tellingly saved all eight break points she faced in the match.

Kvitova handed Garcia the impetus very early in the match with a terrible opening service game that included a pair of double faults.

Garcia was forced into a long service game next up but held on to take a 2-0 lead and assume control of the opening set.

Kvitova struggle for accuracy and control both in her groundstrokes and her serve and soon found herself a double break down.

While Kvitova was able to get on the board and event fashion a couple of break points but each time Garcia would come up with the goods and was able to hold steady and clinch the first set.

It took just 39 minutes to get the first set over and done with and Garcia looked in strong position to quickly close out the contest.

The writing was on the wall when Garcia secured another immediate break followed by a confident hold of serve that gave her a 2-0 lead and a path to victory.

Kvitova went down injured when 2-1 down in the second set and after returning to her feet threatened to turn things around.

However, Kvitova simply could not recover the break of serve and surrendered the match.

“It’s hard to believe I am standing here today, you know, it’s been such a week,” Garcia said at the trophy presentation.

Garcia thanked her coach for his support throughout what has been a testing season.

Her win secures her a favourable seeding for the US Open.