Camila Giorgi toppled Karolina Pliskova to win her first WTA 1000 title at the Omnium Banque Nationale présenté par Rogers in Montréal on Sunday, the biggest victory of her career.
I've been working all my life with my father, we work hours and hours on the court. Of course, the results should come. I believe it and he believe it. This was an amazing week, I'm very happy to have this gift. I dedicate it to him. When you dedicate all your work, one day comes beautiful things. Camila Giorgi
“I was very emotional inside,” Giorgi said after her 6-3 7-5 win. “Of course, I’m not the one that shows a lot.
“It’s just amazing. I’m very happy for what I did this week.”
The first Italian winner of the prestigious US Open Series warm-up tournament now has 3 career titles to her name, after winning in Linz in 2018 and in the Netherlands 3 years earlier.
For Pliskova, it was an added disappointment, having finished as the runner-up at both Rome and Wimbledon this season.
Unseeded and ranked 71, Giorgi went into the final as the underdog but took out Pliskova, the 4th seed, to complete her stunning title run in Montréal, using her strong serve and remarkable defensive skills to best the World No 6 and winning 71% of her first-serve points while firing 7 aces.
Tears welled in Giorgi’s eyes as she broke the Czech’s serve to close out the match.
She had beaten 9th-seeded Elise Mertens in the first round, No 7 seed Petra Kvitova in the round of 16 and No 15 seed Coco Gauff in the quarter-finals before moving past Jessica Pegula in the semis, against whom she dropped her first set of the week.
She seized the momentum on Sunday by breaking Pliskova’s serve to go up 4-3 in the first set, resulting in the Czech flinging her racket down onto the court.
Pliskova was playing in her first tournament since a 3-set loss to top-ranked Ash Barty in the Wimbledon final and had got past Donna Vekic, Amanda Anisimova, Sara Sorribes Tormo before upsetting top seed Aryna Sabalenka in the semi-finals, winning 12 of her past 14 matches coming into the final, which lasted an hour 40 minutes.
The Czech, who has now lost her last 3 encounters with Giorgi, had no answer for the inspired shotmaking of the Italian, after defeats in the first round at Eastbourne and in the third round at the Tokyo Olympics.
Giorgi’s 4 service breaks were enough to overcome Pliskova again, who remains impressed with her opponent’s top form.
“She played super-solid all week, actually, not crazy like she can play sometimes,” Pliskova said. “I think she played really well, serving well at the important moments … she was just a bit better today.”
As a result of her victory, Giorgi is expected to rise into the top 35 in the world rankings for the first time since May, 2019.
The Italian, whose stylist mother designs her tennis dresses, retains a close bond with her father and coach, who was not in Canada this week for his 29-year-old daughter’s biggest moment on court.
“I’ve been working all my life with my father, we work hours and hours on the court,” Giorgi said. “Of course, the results should come. I believe it and he believe it.
“This was an amazing week, I’m very happy to have this gift. I dedicate it to him.
“When you dedicate all your work, one day comes beautiful things.”
Giorgi’s fine recent form has seen her overcome two notable records for her latest success: Before this year, she was 1-5 against Pliskova, and 2-6 in WTA finals.
The opening stages of the final were tightly contested through the first 6 games, with both striking the ball cleanly and winning points through power and margin.
Both extricated themselves from the first break-point danger they faced and, at 3-3, Giorgi struck, using deep forehand returns at Pliskova’s feet to superb effect to break the former World No 1’s serve after a 5-deuce tussle.
From there, she rolled to the end of the set, with Pliskova dropping serve in somewhat tame fashion with a double-fault and a forehand wide in the final game.
Another pair of double-faults and netted groundstrokes from the Czech gifted Giorgi a 3-1 lead in the second, but consecutive Italian double-faults in the next game handed the break straight back.
Over the next few games Giorgi managed to right the ship as Pliskova failed to press home the potential momentum shift.
Giorgi delivered one of the most emphatic holds of the day to reach 5-4, with 2 service winners followed by 2 aces and, 3 games later, serving to stay in the match for the second time, Pliskova folded with a 6th double-fault and 2 forehand errors to seal the Italian’s 2nd championship point.
She finished with more aces than Pliskova, 7 to 4, more winners, 16 to 13, and fewer unforced errors, 27 to 34, and faced only 2 break points over the course of the match.
Next up for the Italian is a repeat of her Montréal semi-final in the first round of Cincinnati against Pegula.
In the doubles final, Gabriela Dabrowski & Luisa Stefani cemented their newly-formed partnership, avenging their loss in the San José final to Darija Jurak & Andreja Klepac.
Controlling the match from the beginning, the Canadian-Brazilian pair faced just 4 break points and were broken just once, rolling to a 6-3 6-4 win to capture the title.
“I think we went into the match, technically, a lot smarter because of how it went last week,” Stefani said. “We built on things from last week.
“From the whole tournament, I think every match here we kept improving and kept focused on what we had to do. I think that paid off at the end.”
This is the first team title for Dabrowski & Stefani, who were playing their 3rd tournament together.
Stefani, who won the bronze doubles medal in Tokyo, began the season playing with long-time partner Hayley Carter, but teamed with Dabrowski after Carter injured her foot and took a coaching job at Vanderbilt University.
“Luisa, thank you so much for being my partner,” Dabrowski said on court. “I’m having so much fun on the court with you.
“Honestly, I hope that we can continue. Great results are awesome but building something together is so beautiful. I love playing doubles with you so thank you for partnering with me.”
Montreal is Dabrowski’s 10th career title and the 3rd and biggest title of Stefani’s career.
“I’m happy to play with Gab,” Stefani said. “We thought about it before.
“We played last year [in Ostrava], had a great tournament. I knew at some points we would probably play together again. I’m just glad it’s working out the way it is.”