Camila Giorgi beat Karolina Pliskova at her own game to win the National Bank Open Canadian women’s tennis championship Sunday.
The fourth-seeded Pliskova came into the final as the WTA Tour leader in aces, but it was the unseeded Giorgi who backed up her surprisingly steady ground game with the more dependable serve to win 6-3, 7-5.
Giorgi had a 7-4 edge in aces and jumped on Pliskova’s second serve to win 53 per cent of those points. She had 10 break opportunities and cashed in on four on them while losing her own serve only once.
Giorgi has a reputation for being an aggressive player who tries to hit winners on almost every shot, but Pliskova said she detected a difference this week.
“I think she also played, like, super solid all week, actually, not playing crazy like she can play sometimes,” said the veteran Czech, who is 0-3 against Giorgi in 2021. “I think she played really well, serving well at important moments. Yeah, just a bit better today.”
While both players are 29, Pliskova has had the better career. She has been ranked No. 1 and has won 16 titles while Giorgi’s best ranking was No. 26 in 2018 and her win Sunday was her third and, by far, the best.
“I think it’s just amazing that it came,” Giorgi said of the breakthrough. “I didn’t have the opportunity in these years (because) I have many injuries. I think this year I was more able to play, being physically well. I was sure one day it could come.”
Giorgi’s one regret is that her father, Sergio, who is also her coach, had to be content to watch the match on TV at the family home in Italy.
“This was an amazing week and I’m very happy to have this gift,” Giorgi said. “Actually, I dedicate it to him because I have this for me because he dedicated many hours to me.”
Giorgi had six break points in the first set and took a 4-3 lead when she broke Pliskova in a game that the Czech led 40-15. Pliskova staved off one break point but then double-faulted to open the door for Giorgi.
In the second set, Pliskova fell behind 0-30 in the fourth game, but she pulled even at 30-30 and Giorgi responded by throwing her racquet from the baseline to the net. That resulted in a warning from the chair umpire.
If Giorgi was upset, it didn’t show in her play as she won the next two points for the service break.
“I think this is very important to let go tension. It’s nothing,” Giorgi said when asked about the outburst. “There are many, many times in the match that you need to do something maybe to put out a little bit the stress. It’s a lot of work down there.”