Western and Southern Open: Qualifier Caroline Garcia makes history with Cincinnati title win

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TENNIS

Caroline Garcia has recovered from foot surgery earlier this year
France’s Caroline Garcia created history with victory in the women’s final at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.

The 28-year-old defeated Petra Kvitova 6-2 6-4 to become the first qualifier to win a WTA 1000 title.

It is Garcia’s third career Masters trophy after back-to-back wins in Wuhan and Beijing almost five years ago.

The world number 35 is now set to return to the top 20 rankings for the first time since 2017.

After getting through qualifying, Garcia beat three top-10-ranked opponents in Maria Sakkari, Aryna Sabalenka and Jessica Pegula, before another superb performance against Czech two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova.

No qualifier has won a WTA 1000 title since the tier was created in 2009.

Garcia, who leads the WTA Tour in aces and is second in break points saved, played to her strengths to triumph in one hour and 42 minutes.

She served 11 aces and saved all eight break points she faced for her third title of the year after earlier successes on clay in Warsaw and on grass in Bad Homburg.

Garcia’s record of 33 victories in total this year is bettered only by Iga Swiatek (50), Simona Halep (39) and Ons Jabeur (38).

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