August 15, 2021

Giant Slayer

It's been a long and winding road for Camila Giorgi the last few years.

The 29-year-old Italian first caught our eye at Wimbledon back in 2012 when, ranked #145 in the world, she stunned compatriot Flavia Penetta and former world #3 Nadia Petrova on her way to the fourth round. She scored some big wins after that, too, stunning Caroline Wozniacki at the U.S. Open in 2013, beating Maria Sharapova at Indian Wells a year later, and running to the quarters at the All England Club in 2018, her best yet performance at a Major and the catalyst for her career high ranking at #26.

But she's been a little inconsistent around her successes. After making the final at the Citi Open in 2019, she lost the first round in Cincy. Another runner-up finish in the Bronx that summer was followed by an opening round exit at Flushing Meadows. She started this season ranked #76 and between August of last year and this past June she only won more than two matches at the same event once.

Things may be changing for her though. Clearly most comfortable on grass, she stunned an on-fire Aryna Sabalenka in the Eastbourne quarters. And her switch to hardcourts has been rather impressive -- she took out Jen Brady and Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova on her way to the final eight in Tokyo. And that was nothing compared to what she did this past week in Montreal.

Unseeded an low ranked, Giorgi was not dealt an easy hand at the Omnium Banque Nationale. She opened against ninth seed Elise Mertens and got the win in straight sets. She went on to take out 2020's surprise French semifinalist Nadia Podoroska, two-time Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova, wünderking Coco Gauff, all without dropping a set. In yesterday's semi against Jessica Pegula, she avenged that loss in Washington two years ago, and today she scored her third win of the season over Pliskova, whose own run here got her a ticket back to the top five.

It's quite an intimidating list of opponents she left in her wake, and for her efforts she was appropriately awarded with by far the biggest title of her career. But maybe more importantly, she proved she can be dangerous even off the surface we've come to believe is her best, and that could make her quite a threat as we count down to the final Major of the year.


Of course, it wasn't just Giorgi bringing home the hardware this weekend. World #2 Daniil Medvedev put even more distance between himself and #GOAT 🐐 contender Rafael Nadal -- who, incidentally, slipped behind Stefanos Tsitsipas this week after an early loss in Washington pushed him out of the top three. The Russian, who breezed past big-serving Reilly Opelka in today's final in Toronto, added a third Masters crown to his résumé and has now one, or finished second at basically every important second half hard court event since 2019.

With Roger Federer out of the U.S. Open, and Nadal's withdrawal from Toronto and Cincy putting his prospects in question, Medvedev may be the best positioned to thwart Novak Djokovic's quest for that historic calendar year Grand Slam. I've said that before, of course, but something tells me this time things could be very different.

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