MATCH POINT: Garcia defeats Sabalenka

Making a loud statement. That’s exactly what Caroline Garcia and Borna Coric have done this week at the Western & Southern Open in each taking out a trio of Top 10 seeds on their way to championship Sunday in Cincinnati.

Garcia was first to achieve the feat, after navigating her way through multiple starts and stops to her semifinal with Aryna Sabalenka on a showery Saturday. Up 3-1 in the third set when play resumed for good, the Frenchwoman sprinted to the finish line to complete a 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 victory.

“I guess no one expected it, that's for sure (smiling). It's a long way to come from qualies,” she said afterwards. “I was not too far out of main draw. I asked for a wild card, top 20, didn't get it. It was a lot of good players, Americans.

“Feels like I have been here for a long time, I have to admit. I know the site pretty well now, but I kind of enjoy it and it's really nice to be in the final again.”

Garcia is through to her first WTA 1000 title match since going back-to-back at Wuhan and Beijing in 2017. While she was forced to come through two qualifying rounds, her form isn’t exactly out of left field. She posted an eight-match win streak during the grass swing, then picked up her second title of the year in Warsaw in an effort that included ousting world No. 1 Iga Swiatek.


Underdogs no more, can Garcia and Coric finish the job at hand Sunday?

Underdogs no more, can Garcia and Coric finish the job at hand Sunday?

Due to the inclement weather clogging the order of play, Borna Coric saw his final-four matchup with Cameron Norrie moved to Grandstand. The Croatian added to his already remarkable week that included sending No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal packing in the second round and eliminating No. 7 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Cameron Norrie, the No. 9 seed.

Unlike Garcia, Coric’s run arguably comes as a bigger surprise. Entering this tournament with a protected ranking, he had four tour-level wins to his name in 2022 after returning from a year-long shoulder injury in March. He’s more than doubled that with his effort in Ohio, one that is set to vault him more than 100 places back inside the Top 50.

"I knew I need to work probably three times more harder than I used to work, and that's what I did," Coric said. "For the last six months I was really focused. I kept my head down even when I was losing and when I was not playing very good tennis."

Set to compete in his second Masters 1000 final (runner-up at 2018 Shanghai), a win Sunday would enable Coric to be seeded at the US Open. He'll need to get past another notable name in No. 4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Greek overcame top-ranked Daniil Medvedev, 7-6 (6), 3-6, 6-3, saving a set point in the opening tiebreaker to defeat the reigning US Open champion for just the third time in 10 meetings.