Camila Giorgi powered her way into a second Linz final of her career as she rallied past the efforts of Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck, 6-3 6-4.
It is a tournament that Giorgi holds very close to her heart. She made the final here four years ago, plays some of her best tennis in this particular stop on tour, but has always had the natural game to progress and achieve bigger things when playing on an indoor surface. The Italian has now made five of her six finals at tour-level on an indoor surface, three times making the final in Katowice, and twice achieving that feat here in Linz.
Giorgi has really torn her way through the draw, using her full-throttle, no-nonsense power game to defeat some very tough players this week, including Pauline Parmentier, who picked up a title indoors earlier on in the season in Quebec City. She also edged out the in-form Margarita Gasparyan in a tight three set match, and now surpasses Alison Van Uytvanck, who has two indoor titles to her resume herself.
What we have seen this week and in the past twelve months is the evolution of the Italian’s game. Yes, she aims for the lines, she takes risks, she remains on offense, and she makes her opponent do as much running as possible and she ensures that the point is hers to lose, but what we are slowly seeing is the evolution of a game that used to be very one way, very one-dimensional, but at the same time it was very devastating. The tactical awareness, the strategic adjustments and the ability to make those changes when required, is something we have not always seen from the powerful Italian in the past, but it is the slight strides she has made that now sees her sit inside the World’s Top 30.
Another adjustment we have seen from the Italian this week all lies with the serve. Not just the power of the serve, but the noticeable change up. Giorgi is regularly renowned on tour for being one of the rare players that likes to serve a second serve as fast as the first serve. It is something that Giorgi has always done, but in the middle of her last match, Giorgi upped the first serve percentage, recognizing that change was needed, and showed the tactical evolution that was never there in the past. Tennis isn’t solely about having a game and using it to the best of your ability, but it is about problem-solving, finding a way and recognizing when to change when things are going wrong or things aren’t going as well. I think that is something that Giorgi does not always get credit for, but it is something that she has definitely done more of inside the last twelve months.
When the power game is good, it is very good. She has the luxury of being the hardest hitter on tour. She can take the racquet out of her opponents hands with one stroke, but the key really is the depth. Even on the points where Giorgi does not necessarily find the lines, she pressures her opponents into putting up the short ball, and in doing so Giorgi maintains the upper hand in the rally. But the additional nuances to her game have really helped push her forward as not only one of the biggest hitters on tour, but also given her a sense of consistency in terms of her results. Yes, she’ll make mistakes. She’ll make many mistakes, but in the 2018 season you are seeing a player that is playing confident, inspired tennis more often than not, and that is a huge step forward for a player that was always capable of delivering a big upset on tennis biggest stage, but now Giorgi has improved and her ranking has followed suit as a result.
Another thing that really does not get mentioned enough is that Giorgi is essentially doing what all the better players have a tendency to do, and that is securing wins in a row while not playing near their best tennis. In the 2nd set of her match against Gasparyan, Giorgi really had to raise her game after a sloppy, inconsistent set of tennis, and there were moments in the 2nd set of this particular match against Van Uytvanck where she was truly tested when the tennis was not always there. The confirmation of a tennis champion is not always about firing winners, playing seamless, easy tennis, but a lot of the time it is about how you react when things aren’t going according to plan. That is something that Giorgi has done more of in the 2018 season and it shows.
Giorgi is demonstrating that she’s more than just a power player. The Top 30 ranking is enough evidence to suggest that she’s finally starting to realise her potential and could rise even higher in the rankings as a result.
Main Photo from Getty