It has been a spectacular week at the Chicago Fall Tennis Classic and Garbine Muguruza was feeling that she'd come this far to the final against Ons Jabeur to make a difference. The Spaniard had her chances of defeating the 14th ranked defiant opponent months ago but it didn't go well.
She was ousted on the Wimbledon grass by the Tunisian in three sets but this was hardcourts and a story that had to change. "I had to be very strong mentally," Muguruza had thought. But Jabeur marched onto the court aggressive and determined to extend her victory over the Spaniard and get a second title to her resume.
Things were looking great for Ons Jabeur as she had overpowered and outsmarted her opponent in the opening set at 6-3. "I suffered that first set, that it didn't go my way. I just said 'Ok this is tennis. I've got another set..."
Muguruza kept hope alive that she'd gotten a 'wake up' call to level the sets immediately. The brazen Venezuelan tended to get unnerved by Jabeur's consistency and lead of 3-2 in the second set. Then something happened to Muguruza that was a welcomed relief from her and her team's anxieties.
She'd win the next 3 games and won the set 6-3. All she could think of was to keep steady and good things will happen. The reality was slowly kicking in. She had made it through four finals this stressful season and if she'd win the deciding set it would make her feel uplifted.
"Making finals is so hard. I've been around for quite some time now and I know that winning titles is something very difficult." After the second set, it was evident that the Spaniard had gotten her game together.
The Chicago crowd was cheering her on giving her the emotional support she needed and received. Despite Tunisia flags waved by the yelling fans, Jabeur's strategies and play had collapsed, resulting in Muguruza winning the deciding set 6-0 and capturing the title.
The remainder of the tour is looking brighter for Garbine who entered the Chicago event ranked no. 9 and with the victory, the title is now 6th. This move-in ranking helps her to qualify for the season-ending WTA Finals this year to be held in Guadalajara, Mexico next month instead of in Asia.
This is a change that Muguruza is looking for, to give Latin America more advantage on seeing and learning about tennis. As for Garbine's morale, it is excellent. She has acquired her second trophy of the season, her 9th career title and a very possible berth at the WTA Finals that she hasn't qualified for since 2015.