Aryna Sabalenka, an opponent as ostentatious as inconstant for Caroline García

Almost three weeks ago, her defeat in the first round of the tournament in Guadalajara (Mexico) against Russian Liudmila Samsonova had mathematically assured Caroline García of her participation in the Masters. Monday, November 7, Aryna Sabalenka (7me world) will find the French (6me world) in the final of the prestigious end-of-season meeting, which brings together the eight best players of the year, in Fort Worth (Texas).

Also read: Tennis: Caroline Garcia qualifies for her first WTA Masters final

The Belarusian surprised last night by beating the Polish Iga Swiatek (6-2, 2-6, 6-1), number 1 in the world and winner of eight titles – including Roland-Garros and the USA – in the semifinals. year. The latter, who had beaten her in her last four meetings, had nonetheless made it through the group stage by winning all three of their matches in straight sets. ” Every time I play against her, I just want to make sure I give her a hard time.”the seventh player in the world reacted after her feat.

“The Queen of Double Faults”

At 24 years old, the player from Minsk will play, on the night of Monday to Tuesday – at 3 am Paris time -, the most important final of her career. A ” miracle ” for the one whose powerful but risky game made life particularly difficult for her in 2022. “I have been the queen of double faults this season [398 au total cette année, elle est celle qui en a fait le plus]he joked before the tournament. This year has been very difficult, I am very happy to be here, it is a miracle. »

Capable of the best and the worst, the Belarusian had stringed together early eliminations during the opening months of the season, despite an honorable round of 16 at the Australian Open in January. Very aggressive and with a great punch, the one who is nicknamed “the tigress” because of her tiger tattoo on her left arm then showed her fangs and reached the final in Stuttgart (Germany) in April, then the one in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. . tournament (Netherlands) in June.

But it was above all this summer that Sabalenka, who had finished the year 2021 in second place in the world (his best ranking), recovered his splendor, and that unforced errors gave way to game winners. The US Open semifinalist, the Belarusian also reached the semifinals of the Cincinnati tournament in August, defeated by… Caroline García (2-6, 6-4, 1-6).

Also read: Tennis: Caroline García wins the Cincinnati tournament

If the two players are level in their clashes (2-2), the Frenchwoman will have the psychological advantage as she has won her last two matches. ” Aryna plays very good tennis here, warns the Lyonnaise anyway in the columns of The team. She seizes her opportunity. I’ll have to put pressure on him, use her ball well. »

“I want to be myself, with my own identity”

Expressive player who can alternate between clenched fists and ” we go “ With tears in her eyes and racket throws, the Belarusian sometimes lets herself be overwhelmed by stress. That has not prevented her from winning ten singles titles so far, and accessing the throne in doubles, after being crowned at the Australian Open in 2021 with the Belgian Elise Mertens against the Czechs Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova.

If your game sparks, so does your personality and openness. From the top of his eighty-two meters, Sabalenka imposes by the shouts that he pushes with each stroke of the racket … even the amortized balls. A custom that earned him the ridicule of the Australian public when he faced Ashleigh Barty in the first round of the Australian Open in 2018. “I don’t really care about that because I’m not the only one, she reacted to Gulf News a few weeks later. I apologize to the players if it bothers you, but that’s how I am. I want to be myself, with my own identity. »

In Fort Worth, the Belarusian, now trained by her former sparring partner Anton Dubrov, again alternated between good and evil. Thanks to her victory against Iga Swiatek in the semifinals, she became the fourth player in history to beat the three world leaders in the same tournament -in the group stage, she beat the Tunisian Ons Jabeur (2me world) and the American Jessica Pegula (3me World Cup) and lost to the Greek Maria Sakkari (5me world).

Where I’ve made progress is that when something doesn’t work, I try to find something else to win. (…) I try to stay lucid and professional.”, trusted during the US Open. It remains to be seen which Aryna Sabalenka will appear against Caroline Garcia next night.

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