Ana Bogdan and Caroline Garcia will battle for the title at the 2022 BNP Paribas Poland Open. The semifinals started four hours earlier than the tournament had originally scheduled them a few months ago due to a very tough weather forecast. That choice paid off as it wasn’t long after Garcia finished her semifinal that the courts were left unplayable due to heavy rain.
Bogdan had lost at the semifinal stage in four previous WTA Tour events (Florianopolis 2016, Bucharest 2017, Monterrey and Bogota 2018). It had been over four years since she had the chance to compete in the final four at this level, so there was a lot of pressure on the 29-year-old to perform. Both sets against Kateryna Baindl were extremely tough, but Bogdan managed to step it up when needed, taking each by seven games to five. You could see the emotions in her reaction after the Ukrainian’s return match point down landed in the net. Bogdan took a few seconds to cool down before coming over to the net to thank her opponent and the umpire.
“I handled my emotions quite well today. I knew it was gonna be tough, especially emotional and physical, cause we were both kinda tired. I just wanted to play free, but it was kinda hard to do it. Tactically, I was quite well prepared in my mind. I just had to stay there focused on every point, and tell myself that I can make it, I’m better. I have to believe in myself every single time I’m getting ready for a point. It’s been quite a difficult period for me, I’ve lost many matches” said the Romanian after the win.
Following up on a huge upset
Garcia was coming off a stunning win against Iga Swiatek and after such an emotional high, you could expect her to have a bit of a slow start on Saturday. But that wasn’t the case at all as the Frenchman was on top of the rallies early against Jasmine Paolini. She used a hyper-aggressive returning position to punish the Italian’s weaker second serve. Garcia was blasting the ball fearlessly and managed to secure a berth in the final in just 63 minutes. During the last three games, the rain was getting heavier and heavier, but the Frenchwoman wrapped it up just in time.
“I’m very excited to be in the final. It’s been a challenging week, especially today with the big win yesterday, it was only a couple of hours to recover and be ready. The conditions were very difficult, lots of rain, and I’m just very happy with the way I played. Mentally I stayed very focused in the present and it paid off. I started pretty strong, putting a lot of pressure on her. I was very effective and very aggressive. When it started to rain, it got a little bit tricky. I wanted to try to finish it before [the rain] was too much and you’ll always try to rush, but she wanted to keep playing as well. I think it was great tennis for the conditions” said the 28-year-old, who’ll have the advantage of experience in this one, having already clinched eight WTA titles before.
Main photo: Michał Jędrzejewski / BNP Paribas Poland Open