Two weeks ago Caroline Garcia was ranked No. 20 in the world with a modest 35-20 record. Eleven straight wins and two trophies later, she's reached a career-high ranking of No. 9 and is on the inside track to qualify for the WTA Finals.
She capped off her incredible Asian swing with a gritty 6-4, 7-6 (3) victory over new No. 1 Simona Halep in the Beijing final.
Her two-week conquest of the Far East is a massive realization of her talent. She racked up wins against Angelique Kerber, Dominika Cibulkova, Elina Svitolina, Petra Kvitova and Halep.
Congrats to @CaroGarcia for massive 2 titles!— Elina Svitolina (@ElinaSvitolina) October 8, 2017
The 23-year-old used her strong agility to produce bold up-the-line winners and heavy groundstrokes. She's been bolstered by improved confidence after some rough patches in the first part of the season, and it shows.
Garcia, who posed with fellow Beijing champion Rafael Nadal, is being hailed as the best Frenchwoman since Marion Bartoli. She's the first woman from France to be ranked inside the Top 10 since Bartoli retired in 2013.
China Open 2017 winners ???????????????????????? What an honor for me to share it with @rafaelnadal ! Enhorabuena Rafa for this 75th titles ???????????????????? #Vamos Quel honneur pour moi de partager le trophée de vainqueur à @chinaopen avec @rafaelnadal ! Bravo Rafa pour ce 75e titre ???????????????????? #Vamos #FlyWithCaro
Garcia’s talent has never been in question. In 2011, Andy Murray predicted she would be the No. 1 player in the world.
The girl sharapova is playing is going to be number one in the world one day caroline garcia, what a player u heard it here first— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) May 26, 2011
Her progress has been steady, but slower than she, and many, may have expected. Garcia has matured and made tough decisions for her singles career (like easing up on doubles and skipping the Fed Cup). As she told WTA Insider:
“It's a journey. Sometimes it's not a straight line. Sometimes there's more of a curve for some people than for others. Sometimes you have to go back to come back. There are some ups and downs but it's an adventure I like to live….”
Now Garcia is 65 points ahead of a fading Johanna Konta to be one of the elite eight in Singapore.
"To be in the Top 10 also means something because it's a step in your career that you want to achieve," Garcia said. "You never know if you're going to reach it, but it's a very important goal. It means you are a part of the top 10 best players in the world."