Caroline Garcia, Borna Coric get 1st titles in Cincinnati

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Caroline Garcia, of France, reacts as she defeats Petra Kvitova, of the Czech Republic, during the women's singles final of the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2022, in Mason, Ohio. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

MASON, Ohio – Caroline Garcia generated momentum going into the U.S. Open in a week, capturing the Western & Southern Open women’s championship with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Petra Kvitova on Sunday.

And Borna Coric continued his headlong rush up the men’s rankings, completing an improbable run to the championship with a 7-6 (0), 6-2 win over No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first final at this tournament for both players.

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Coric, 25, is expected to be ranked 29th going into the U.S. Open. He opened the tournament at 152 before upsetting five seeded players and four in the top 10, including Rafael Nadal. The Croatian entered the tournament on a protected injury ranking.

The 24-year-old Tsitsipas, from Greece, was trying to become the first man this season to win championships on all three surfaces — hard court, grass and clay. He has won a tour-high 46 matches this season.

Tsitsipas took a 4-1 lead in the first set, but he couldn’t hold it and he wasn’t sure why.

“I’m not in any condition to answer that, because I’m still looking for the answer myself," he said. "I don’t have a clear answer for that. He was serving well. He was making me move a lot. He plays the way he’s always played. He hasn’t changed much. The less he misses, the more he makes your life difficult.”

“I realized I had to be more aggressive,” Coric said. “I had nothing to lose. I knew if I continued to play the way I was playing, I was going to lose anyway. I had to hit the ball harder and deeper.”

In the women's final, Garcia already was the first qualifier to ever reach the title match and clinched the victory when Kvitova sent a second serve return into the net. Garcia dropped to her knees and lay on her back on the court after the final point.

“Pure joy,” said Garcia, the first French woman to win the tournament. “Just happiness. Every single win is important. Every single title is very special. It’s always very hard to describe it. It’s not happening so often, and you have to really like enjoy it. I’m really grateful for this great week of tennis, and to win another title, it’s very special."

The 28-year-old has a WTA Tour-leading 27 match victories since June.

The 28th-ranked Kvitova and 35th-ranked Garcia both shook off first-round losses the previous week in Toronto to make their first appearances in a Cincinnati final.

Garcia broke her Czech opponent in the first game, and raced to a 4-0 lead. Garcia also gained an early edge with a first game break in the second set.

Kvitova, 32, left the court for treatment of an injury after falling behind 2-0 in the second set. She looked sharper after returning but couldn’t overcome the early break.

“Definitely not the result I wanted, but ... I have to take it like this and see the positive things," Kviotva said. "I know it’s hurting right now, but on the other side, I have to see it like overall and be proud on my 40th final of my career.”

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