Caroline Garcia Is Flying Once More, Soars Into US Open Top Contenders Spot

Carolina Garcia Cincinnati

Tennis fans might not remember, but there was a time when Caroline Garcia was destined to be the next great player in women’s tennis. Andy Murray thought we were looking at a future world #1. We can’t blame him either, after Garcia’s dream run on the Chinese hard court swing in 2017. That run saw her storm into the WTA Finals and finish #8 in the world that year. However, since then it’s been a slow and steady decline for the French star. Her fall from grace saw her go trophy-less in 2020 and 2021 and finish last year ranked #74 in the world. For context, Garcia hadn’t ranked that low since the end of 2013. Things have turned around dramatically for the Frenchwoman in 2022 though. She is now firmly among the US Open Top Contenders and comes into the tournament in great form. So, let’s take a look at how she got here.

Gradual Rise Followed by A Superb Run And Then A Gradual Fall

Garcia Improved her year-end ranking from 2012 until 2017, She made a big leap in the 2012/2013 season and then gradually made her way into the top 30 in the women’s game. Then 2017 happened. The French star ripped off 11 wins in a row to bag two titles in Wuhan and Beijing. The run booked her spot in the WTA Finals where she then made it to the semifinals before losing to Venus Williams. She finished that year with the world at her fingers and many in the tennis community expecting big things. Sadly, that wasn’t the case and she slowly fell away from the top of the women’s game.

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There were flashes of brilliance in the four years that followed. The highlight was a title in Nottingham in 2019. However, gone were the days where she was a favourite or contender in every tournament. The young star’s tennis looked forced and she looked unhappy. Her signature ‘Fly With Caro’ celebration almost never made an appearance either. Garcia’s game often looked forced and she appeared to be in her own head far too much. All this culminated in two years without a trophy. Granted, the COVID-19 pandemic played havoc with the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Nevertheless, Garcia was a shell of her former self and looked in danger of spiralling out of the tour all together. Then this season started. In the eight months since the beginning of this month everything has changed for Garcia.

2022 A Dream Come True As Garcia Makes History

At first this season looked to be going the same way as the previous two. Garcia won no titles in the first six months of the year and didn’t have much to show for her improving levels of play. Then she won Bad Homburg in convincing fashion. One of two murmurs of a return to form floated around the tennis world, but nothing more. Unhappy with this, Garcia decided to announce her return to the top of the women’s game herself. She kicked things off with a title run in Warsaw. The significance of that run is her win over Iga Swiatek along the way. I can’t think of a greater confidence boost than beating the best player in the world on her favourite surface in her home country, can you? That run was the first real sign that Garcia means business this year. Then came Cincinnati, and if anyone was unsure before, they certainly aren’t now.

The French star barnstormed her way into the final of Cincinnati as a qualifier. Along the way she beat Three current top ten players, two former top ten players and a former top twenty player. Then, to top it all off, she beat two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova in the final. Garcia is now the only women in history to win a WTA 1000 title as a qualifier. The trophy is the biggest of her career and it couldn’t come at a better time. With the last Grand Slam of the year kicking off on Monday, Garcia’s moment has catapulted her to the top of the pile as far as US Open top contenders in the women’s game. The question is, what comes next for one of the US Open top contenders?

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Can Caro Step Up When The Lights Shine Brightest?

Garcia beat up some of the best players in the women’s game in Cincinnati, so there’s no reason she can’t go all the way in New York. Grand Slams are a different animal, but the French star has shown she has the game to beat anyone on her day. Also in her favour is the fact that she hasn’t won a Grand Slam this year, or indeed ever. The women’s game has seen a different champion for each Grand Slam in a calendar year every year since 2016. We’ve also had a fresh face lift the title every year since Serena Williams won in 2014, with the exception of Naomi Osaka who has won it twice. So, Garcia brings red hot form and history looks ready to lend a helping hand.

With that in mind, I think we should all strap in because it might soon be time to ‘Fly With Caro’ all the way to the US Open title. She has as much of a chance as any of the US Open top contenders. At the very least, her form should carry her into the second week. Either way, we’ve got a great player back and it’s a joy to see.

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