“The most important thing was staying positive” – Caroline Garcia shakes off stress to defeat Gauff in WTA Finals opener

Caroline Garcia rediscovered her winning ways on Tuesday, taking out Coco Gauff in straight sets at the WTA Finals.

Caroline Garcia at the 2022 US Open in New York Caroline Garcia at the 2022 US Open in New York Image Credit: Antoine Couvercelle / Panoramic

Caroline Garcia has done more losing than winning since defeating Coco Gauff to reach the semi-finals of the US Open in September. The Frenchwoman has lost four of her last five matches and parted ways with Bertrand Perret, the coach who helped her engineer a dramatic turnaround in her game – and fortunes – in 2022.

Tonight in Fort Worth, Garcia returned to her winning ways with a satisfying 6-4, 6-3 over Gauff at the WTA Finals in Fort Worth.

“The most important thing today was really that I stayed really positive, really focused in the present moments,” Garcia said after earning her 40th win of the season against 19 losses.

“Not good” – Garcia overcame shaky start to thrive

Garcia got off to a shaky start, failing to convert four game points in the opening game before being broken by the 18-year-old American. But she responded in kind with a break back, and never trailed from that point on.

“I had my opportunity to win my first game,” she recalled. “I got broken. I was like, ‘Whoa, it’s not good.’”

Garcia took her chances in the tenth game to claim the opening set.

“I was really calm, really positive and I was able to come back right away and got my opportunity at 5-4, and then I broke her very early.”

Gauff battled back from a break down in the second set, closing the gap from 3-1 to 3-2, but Garcia answered with her fourth break of the night and held serve the rest of the way to clinch her victory in one hour and 18 minutes.

Second place in the standings, behind Swiatek

The victory is important on many levels. A win is a win of course, but consider the fact that juggernaut Iga Swiatek is in the four-player group, along with Daria Kasatkina, Gauff and Garcia, and we can see why victories in “non Swiatek” matches are so important.

Here are the standings in the Tracy Austin Group after Tuesday

Tracy Austin Group Standings after play on November 1, 2022

Garcia has high praise for Gauff: “She’s a great champion already”

Garcia came away with the victory, and she also came away impressed with Gauff, who is the youngest player to contest both singles and doubles at the WTA Finals since 1999.

“She’s a great player, a great champion already,” she said. “She’s starting to be more aggressive, like going more to the net and you always have to find solutions. It’s never over against Coco.

“She’s so young, I mean she’s still a teenager and I think she was a teenager for a long time now. She’s been around for so long and I have so much respect for her and her team, doing singles and doubles and always committed until the end. We know it’s tough to only do it in singles and she’s doing both with Jessica Pegula and they are going like full commitment. So really a lot of respect for for both of them.”

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