Caroline Garcia Wins 2022 WTA Finals


Caroline Garcia took home the WTA Championship in Texas. (Courtesy of Twitter)

2022’s Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Finals are now at an end, and the #1 female tennis player in all of France has swung her lasso of proof around the horns of the most prestigious title she’s earned to date.

Caroline Garcia emerged as the champion at this year’s season-ender tournament in Fort Worth, Texas, after 1 hour and 40 minutes, narrowly overpowering Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka in straight yet tight sets: 7-6 (4) and 6-4. The world #4 adds to her now four-pronged collection of titles in 2022, including Bad Homburg (grass), Warsaw (red clay), Cincinnati (outdoor hardcourt) and now the indoor hardcourt WTA Championship, cementing her as the only woman with wins on every surface this year.

The WTA Finals is the special event held at the close of every calendar and professional tennis year. A lauded round-robin exclusively featuring the internationally top-ranked octet of pro tennis players who accumulated the most points over the course of the season, these tournaments take into account a player’s performance since January and not just individual competitions, culminating in an elimination bracket of the winningest players of the year. While not regarded as being the most prestigious and noteworthy tournament that honor is shared by the four Major tournaments of the Australian Open (Melbourne), French Open (Paris), Wimbledon (London) and U.S. Open (New York City) the WTA finals are a wonderfully unique celebration in their own right, akin to the MLB/NBA/NFL Postseasons, yet being a World Series/Super Bowl mashup that doesn’t overshadow the accomplishments of the athletes earlier in that year.

If everything is truly bigger in Texas, so were both ladies’ performances. The first set was fiery and fierce, with both players closely holding service games all the way to the tiebreak, let alone practically never threatening each other with any break points. Double faults were also rarely seen, with Sabalenka making three and Garcia producing only one. Their entire match even saw their pristine service game record of 11-10, with Garcia edging out the only break of service for the evening in the opening game of the second set. 

After securing the crucial break, Garcia’s blistering high-speed and highly acute-angle crosscourt winners diluted the sparse moments of desperation erupting from Sabalenka, handily wearing down the increasingly discouraged Belarusian. The Frenchwoman’s shot consistency surged even further, making few errors and sending her opponent frustratedly scrambling for veritable moonbeams of deep and untouchable ball placements. 

Both players traded massive serves and astounding point-nabbing winner shots, but Garcia just managed to give that little bit more to take the treasured Billie Jean King trophy and $820,000 bonus check. Their points were often short and rapid, yet undeniably explosive.

“It was a lot of aces — sometimes not too many rallies,” Garcia laughed to the crowd during the trophy presentation ceremony. “But that’s our game style, and I hope you enjoyed it.”

At the end of the night’s clash, their overall game record was 13-10. Garcia’s 11 aces outshone Sabalenka’s mere four, though they were closer in effective servings; their respective percentages being a massive 79% and 69% points won on first serves. First serve percentages alone were an intriguingly similar 62% and 52% for the Frenchwoman and Belarusian.

“I just dropped my level for a little bit,” noted Sabalenka post-match. “On the tiebreak and the first game of the second set. That’s it… I did my best, [Garcia] played incredible tennis.”

Garcia’s confidence, momentum and near-perfection simply exploded with exponential combustion until she eventually remained the ultimate competitor. Her monumental achievement granted her a WTA-leading 36th match win since June 1, when she was internationally ranked 79th in stark contrast to her soaring new career high slot of #4.

“I think it’s super important to keep improving,” Garcia later reflected. “If you don’t move forwards you move backwards.”

As for the next biggest step of winning a major tournament, Garcia’s victory brings a fresh wave of immense hope and possibility that opens the door for future Grand Slam titles. Her best major result was at this year’s U.S. Open semifinals, where her run in Flushing was stopped by Tunisian Ons Jabeur, who would later fall to WTA and world #1 Iga Swiatek of Poland.

“Today was a solid match,” Garcia continued. “A few mistakes here and there, but not too many.” On the future: “There are things I can still improve. It’s a challenge, you always want to challenge yourself in the sport.”

Garcia aims to maintain her meteoric perpetuity that might propel her to finally hoist the trophy at one of the multimillion-dollar tournaments, perhaps next year. With her tennis tenacity from a level of play that is the best she’s ever formulated, the time could be ripe for her to do more of what she’s never done before, yet may be soon to accomplish as early as this coming January in Melbourne.