WTA Roundup – Parks upsets Garcia in Lyon as Zhu wins in Thailand

America’s Alycia Parks won her first WTA singles title after upsetting hometown favourite Caroline Garcia, 7-6(7) 7-5, at the Open 6eme Sens Metropole de Lyon on Sunday in France in 2 hours and 7 minutes of power tennis from both.

I made sure I focused on my service games today to get through the match, because I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy match. So just staying within myself, and fighting for every point, and that got me through the match. Alycia Parks

It was the first victory over a Top 5 player for the 22-year-old from Georgia, USA, who fired 15 aces and saved all 4 break points she faced against the Frenchwoman.

Garcia is the World No 5 seeking her 12th career title and she was not going to go down lightly in front of her home crowd, pounding down her own serve with great accuracy, but Parks just edged the contest of fine margins in the end.

“It feels amazing to hold my first WTA tour-level championship trophy,” Parks said after her victory. “Words can’t explain.

“Just last year, I was in an [ITF Challenger] $60,000 final, and now I have won a WTA 250!”

Prior to this week, Parks had never progressed to the Last four at a WTA Tour event, but she showed no signs nerves against Garcia.

She says she and her younger sister got into tennis quite accidentally, but immediately loved the sport.

“In elementary school, I made all A’s and every time we made all A’s, my parents took us to the toy store. It was taking me an hour to pick something,” Parks told WTA Insider. “My mom was like, ‘Hurry up or I’m gonna pick something for you’.

“She just happened to look down and it was two tennis rackets and three tennis balls. She knew me and my sister liked to play outdoors and we had a tennis court in our neighbourhood. She took us to the tennis court and she was reading her book and she just heard the ball going back and forth, me and my sister just kept rallying.

“She called my dad and she was, like, I think they’re pretty good at tennis.”

Parks added that the junior ranks didn’t do as much for the development of her game as constantly playing against her sister has.

“We didn’t do the junior route because, at the time, I was growing throughout juniors,” she said. “I would always have knee problems and my dad wanted to prevent injuries.

“Just train and get ready for the pros. So that’s what we did, and here I am now.”

Lyon champion Alycia Parks poses with runner-up Caroline Garcia on Sunday

Kévin Clément/Open 6ème Sens Métropole de Lyon/Instagram

On Sunday Parks converted 80 percent of her first serves into points, and staved off two break points until championship point, when she double-faulted on the final break point of the match.

“I made sure I focused on my service games today to get through the match, because I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy match,” Parks said. “So just staying within myself, and fighting for every point, and that got me through the match.”

Garcia also neared an 80 percent success rate behind her first serve, and she almost got out of the match without being broken as well, but Parks converted her 3rd and final break point of the day on championship point when the Frenchwoman capitulated with a double-fault.

It is Park’s second Top 10 win, having upset then World No 7 Maria Sakkari in Ostrava last year, and the young American believes that keeping a consistent routine on and off the court served her well in a significant week for Parks.

“The key to a successful week for me was keeping the same routine,” Parks said. “I wake up around the same time every morning, and eat the same breakfast, same dinner. Basically just doing the same routine, try to make it a habit if it’s working.”

Parks achieve a new career-high ranking of 51 in Monday’s WTA Rankings, rising 28 points after her maiden title win in Lyon, while Garcia will remain at No 5 having missed a chance to close the gap on World No 4 Jessica Pegula.

Lyon Doubles champions Cristina Bucsa & Bibiane Schoofs beat Serbian Olga Danilovic & Alexandra Panova in Sunday's final

Kévin Clément/Open 6ème Sens Métropole de Lyon/WTAtennis.com

Earlier on Sunday, in the doubles final between two unseeded teams, Spaian’s Cristina Bucsa & Bibiane Schoofs from the Nethwelands defeated Serbian Olga Danilovic & Alexandra Panova of Russian, 7-6(5) 6-3, in 1 hour and 36 minutes to capture the Lyon title.

Bucsa & Schoofs saw an early 3-0, double-break lead dissipate in the first set, but they righted themselves in the tiebreak to earn the one-set lead before holding firm in the second.

Schoofs picks up her second WTA doubles title, with her first coming alongside Sara Errani just over 5 years ago at 2018 Auckland, while it is Bucsa’s first WTA doubles title in just her second tour-level doubles final.

Zhu Lin defeated Lesia Tsurenko to win the Thailand Open title on Sunday

Photo by 2023 Thailand Open presented by E@

Hua Hin | WTA 250 Thailand Open

China’s Zhu Lin was another first-time WTA tour winner, defeating Lesia Tsurenko, 6-4 6-4, in Hua Hin.

Zhu, 29, needed an hour and 45 minutes to defeat the Ukrainian in a match that continued her strong start to the 2023 season.

She reached the quarter-finals in Auckland and the 4th-round of the Australian Open, and now moves into the Top 50 of the rankings this week at No 41.

Neither player was at the top of her service game, with Zhu earning points on 52 percent of her first serves, while Tsurenko converted just 38 percent.

In a match that saw 23 break point opportunities, Zhu cashed in on 8 of 9 attempts but saved only 8 of 14 break points on her serve.

The final was tensely close for a large portion of the match as Zhu managed a break to go up 5-3 in the first set and, although she was broken to love in the following game, she returned the favour straight back, also to love, to take the opening set in 46 minutes.

The second saw players trade breaks, with Zhu eventually securing her first match point at 5-3, but she sprayed a shot wide to miss that chance before capitalising on her 3rd in the 10th game with a backhand winner.

“I’m so happy to finally win my first tour title,” said Zhu. “All the hard work finally paid off.”

It was the first final for Tsurenko, formerly ranked No 23 in the world, since 2019 as she has dealt with injuries in recent years, and despite the loss, the 33-year old Ukrainian will return to the Top 100 at No 100.



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