Caroline Garcia moved up to No.12 in the new WTA World Rankings released on Monday following her triumph at the Tianjin Open in China. She is still some way behind the No.4 position she held as recently as last month, but there is little doubt that the Frenchwoman is one of the rising stars in the sport.
Garcia first came to prominence as a teenager in 2011, when she earned a wild card and progressed to the second round of the Australian Open; she later entered the French Open in the same manner, and won a host of admirers after coming close to a stunning victory over Maria Sharapova. Garcia won the first set 6-3 and held a 4-1 lead in the second, but the Russian battled back to win 11 games in a row and avoid a major upset. That did not preclude her young opponent from receiving widespread praise, though, as observers (including Andy Murray, who tweeted “what a player” while watching her impressive performance) marked Garcia out as one for the future.
Two years later she qualified for Wimbledon – the first time she entered a Grand Slam without the need for a wild card – having lost to Serena Williams at the Australian Open a few months prior. Victory over Zheng Jie saw her progress to the second round, where Williams again stood in her way and, unsurprisingly, emerged triumphant in straight sets. The Frenchwoman reached the same stage of the US Open before losing to Laura Robson, but her progression beyond the first round meant she entered the top 70 of the World Rankings for the first time in her career.
She may have ended up losing again to Williams at the Sony Open in 2014, but the fact that Garcia won one set provided further evidence of her potential. She also made it through to the third round of Wimbledon that season, before making two WTA finals in 2015 at the Mexican Open (although she was aided by Sharapova’s withdrawal through illness at the semi-final stage) and the Monterrey Open. She lost in both, but bounced back a year later to win the Mallorca Open and the Internationaux de Strasbourg, while also winning the doubles section of the French Open.
Garcia continued her forward momentum last season, tasting success at the Wuhan Open and China Open within the space of a few weeks in the autumn. She also reached the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time, making the last eight of the French Open before bowing out to Karolina Pliskova; she also advanced to the same stage of the Australian Open at the start of this year, but was beaten by Madison Keys. The Frenchwoman entered the Tianjin Open as third favourite, but defeats of Xun Fangying, Zhang Yuxuan, Petra Martic, Hsieh Su-wei and Pliskova brought her the trophy.
Garcia turned 25 on Tuesday and she will now be looking to kick on again in 2019, starting with the Australian Open in January.