American Alycia Parks claimed her first WTA singles title at the Open 6ème Sens Métropole de Lyon on Sunday.
Parks wrapped up her breakthrough week on the WTA Tour with her first top five victory and inarguably the biggest singles win of her career over home hero Caroline Garcia.
The American held her nerve to down the world No 5 7-6(7), 7-5 after 127 minutes on the court.
“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 of a WTA Tour event but she showed no signs of that in her nerveless display against Garcia.
Parks didn’t give Garcia any real openings on her serve, often proving far too hot to handle.
She fired down 15 aces and maintained a high success rate on her first serve.
Garcia was also incredibly accurate on serve, but Parks just shaded the contest in the end and demonstrated the fine margins between victory and defeat at this level.
“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.”
Parks’ win in the final marks her second Top 10 victory, having upset then world No 7 Maria Sakkari in Ostrava last year. However, this was the American’s first win over a player ranked inside the Top 5, having previously fallen to No 4 ranked Ons Jabeur in Berlin last year.
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 will achieve a new career-high ranking in Monday’s WTA Rankings after her maiden title win in Lyon.
Garcia will remain the World No 5 but misses a chance to close the gap to World No 4 Jessica Pegula.