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The statistics that defined 2022 – Caroline Garcia’s summer of domination takes her from 74th to fourth in less than six months

She started the season as an afterthought and finished it as a bona fide Slam contender after the most dominant stretch of her career

Caroline Garcia, US Open 2022 Caroline Garcia, US Open 2022 ; AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Back in 2017, the tennis world was well aware of the talents that Caroline Garcia possessed. Just over five years ago, the Frenchwoman had completed a banner season, one that saw her win back-to-back titles at Wuhan and Beijing and reach the semi-finals at the WTA Finals. 

Garcia finished that season at No 8 in the WTA rankings, and even climbed as high as No 4 in the ranking a year later. But the good times didn’t last. Garcia struggled to win half of her matches from 2019 to 2021, and battled injuries as her confidence sagged right along with her ranking. 

Starting 2022 at No 74 in the world, nobody had any idea of the magic that Garcia was about to produce. 

We would soon find out…

The Roland-Garros doubles title kicks off a spectacular summer 

Garcia would need several months to hit her stride in 2022, but once the Lyon native was in form, she was virtually impossible to stop. It all started on the doubles court in Paris, where she teamed with Kristina Mladenovic to win her second major doubles title. 

Two weeks later, still ranked at 75, Garcia would catch fire, winning 29 of 33 matches and racking up titles at Bad Homburg, Warsaw and Cincinnati, before riding a career-best 13-match winning streak into her first Grand Slam semi-final at the US Open. 

During that torrid stretch, the rejuvenated Garcia also earned her first win over a reigning world No 1 when she took out Iga Swiatek 6-1 1-6 6-4 in the Warsaw quarter-finals. 

Garcia’s success in 2022 was due to two reasons primarily: first, she managed to get healthy for the first time in years; second, she recommitted to playing an all-out brand of aggressive tennis, and executed her game perfectly. 

“I think this year there were so many lessons and so many experiences,” Garcia said after winning the WTA Finals in November. “My team behind me were really focused on which way we wanted to play, how we wanted to play, and it was not paying off all the time, but they told me that if I kept going in that way it will pay off one day or another, so that was really the mentality: keep going that way and it will pay off one day.

“I’m not really sure we were thinking it was going to pay off that much actually, but I definitely like it.”

Car
November 1, 2022, FORT WORTH, TEXAS, UNITED STATES: Caroline Garcia of France in action during her first round-robin match of the 2022 WTA

Top-10 return, biggest career title and top-5 finish 

Garcia lost to Ons Jabeur in the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows, but she had not finished imposing herself on the rest of the tour. She re-entered the top-10 on September 12th and subsequently qualified for the WTA Finals for the first time since 2017. 

Garcia stole the show in Fort Worth, notching her biggest title (d. Sakkari 6-3, 6-2 in the semis, d. Sabalenka 7-6, 6-4 in the final) and finished the season with a 45-20 record and four titles. 

The Frenchwoman was a veritable triple threat in 2022, and the only player on the WTA Tour to win titles on all three surfaces. 

She went 18-6 in deciding sets, and 4-0 vs the top-10 in deciding sets. 

No 4 in the year-end rankings

Garcia finishes the season perched at her career-high ranking of No 4 in the world (her best ever year-end ranking), and she’s keen to avoid a precipitous fall like she encountered after 2018, when she dropped outside of the top-40 in the 2019 year-end ranking.

Another sign of Garcia’s resurgence? Remarkably, she went 8-4 overall against the top-10 after going 1-10 against the top 10 from 2019 to 2021. 

To say she improved would be the understatement of the year. She rocketed up the rankings and was the second-most dominant player on tour behind Iga Swiatek. 

And she believes she can be even better. 

“I think it’s super important to keep improving,” she said. “You know, we said, ‘If you don’t move forward, you move backward.’ So that’s not something we want to do in the team and I don’t want to do it, either. I did it a couple years ago, and didn’t really enjoy the ride.”

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