Caroline Garcia had flown over her first rounds of the US Open. But on Thursday, for his very first Grand Slam semi-final, the pressure and atypical play of his opponent Ons Jabeur clipped his wings.
“Obviously I was tense! It’s a Grand Slam semi-final”, admitted, after her heavy defeat 6-1, 6-3 in 1h06, the 28-year-old Frenchwoman who had never passed the quarters before. finals of a major tournament.
“His game is a challenge for me, I knew I had to play my tennis aggressively, but that the quality of the ball I was going to have would be different (from previous rounds, editor’s note). was going to be able to take up this challenge? Today, I didn’t succeed. The arm went less well, the legs were less present and that makes a lot of difference on Ons which is having a super solid year and which didn’t bother me. given a lot”, analyzed Garcia.
For the past few weeks, her slogan “fly with Caro” (flies with Caro) which she illustrates on the courts after victories by imitating the flight of an airplane by spreading her arms, has seemed more topical than ever.
After complicated months, with physical glitches that made him lose confidence, the ex-N.4 had fallen to 79th in the world last May. At the same time, she injured her foot in the first round in Miami.
“There were so many moments of doubt after Miami, I couldn’t get out of my foot injury… After ten days on crutches you realize that you can’t walk anymore, you doubt a lot But I was well surrounded to take things step by step,” she explained.
– “I love my passion” –
Garcia regained her confidence by winning in Bad Homburg, then Warsaw and above all at the WTA 1000 in Cincinnati, just before coming to New York where she literally swallowed her first five opponents, including Alison Riske and Coco Gauff. she had never been beaten before.
Eliminated and disappointed, she nevertheless draws a positive balance from her New York epic where she was able to convince herself, if she still needed it, that her aggressive game, if served by a flawless physique and a mind of steel, was the tennis she loves to practice: “that’s how I get off on my passion”, she insisted.
On Monday, she will return to 10th place in the WTA and can hope to qualify for the WTA Finals (ex-Masters) which will bring together from October 31 to November 7 in Fort Worth (Texas, United States), the eight best players of the season. .
“It’s cool to be in the running for the WTA Finals. We have to recover well and get back to work to continue to advance this game”, she underlined, specifying that she still has three tournaments on her program to win her prize. ticket for Texas: Tokyo, San Diego and Guadalajara.
For his part, Jabeur (5th) will play his second major final in a row after that of Wimbledon. It will be against the Polish Iga Swiatek (N.1 world) or the Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka (6th).
“It’s great! After Wimbledon (defeat in the final against Elena Rybakina, editor’s note), I was under a lot of pressure and I’m really relieved to have confirmed my results. The season on hard courts had started a little badly, but I’m very happy to be in the final,” commented the 28-year-old Tunisian, the first African in the Open era (since 1968) to reach the final at Flushing Meadows.