Camila Giorgi stormed to the biggest title of her career at the Omnium Banque Nationale with a 6-3 7-5 win over No.4 seed Karolina Pliskova in 1 hour and 40 minutes.
This was the unseeded Giorgi's first career 1000-level title, her third overall, first since 2018, first above 250 level and first on outdoor hard courts. Previously, the Italian was champion at 's-Hertogenbosch 2015 on grass and Linz 2018 on indoor hard courts. Giorgi's fine recent form has seen her overcome two notable records for her latest success: Before this year, she was 1-5 against Pliskova and 2-6 in WTA finals.
The past two months have seen Giorgi turn her head-to-head against the Czech around in emphatic fashion. She stunned Pliskova 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the first round of Eastbourne in June, and backed that up with a 6-4, 6-2 dismissal in the third round of the Tokyo Olympic Games. Here, she meted out Pliskova's third final defeat of 2021, following losses in Rome to Iga Swiatek and at Wimbledon to Ashleigh Barty.
The World No.71 Giorgi upset four seeded players - No.9 Elise Mertens, No.7 Petra Kvitova and No.15 Coco Gauff as well as Pliskova en route to becoming the lowest-ranked champion in Canada since No.80-ranked Serena Williams took the title in 2011. Giorgi dropped just one set across the week, to Jessica Pegula in the semifinals.
In both of Pliskova's previous finals this year, she was undone by slow starts. But the opening stages of the Montreal title match were solid and tightly contested through the first six games. Both players were striking the ball cleanly, but winning points through a combination of power and margin rather than low-percentage placement.
Both would extricate themselves from the first break-point danger they faced, with Giorgi pulling off a stellar get to do so, and at 3-3 she struck. Using deep forehand returns at Pliskova's feet to superb effect, she broke the former World No.1's serve after a mighty five-deuce tussle. From there, Giorgi rolled to the end of the set, with Pliskova dropping serve in somewhat tame fashion with a double fault and wide forehand in its final game.
Another pair of double faults and netted groundstrokes from Pliskova gifted Giorgi a 3-1 lead in the second set - but an uncharacteristic tossed racquet from the former World No.26 was a sign that there could be more plot twists to come. Sure enough, consecutive double faults from Giorgi in the next game handed the break straight back.
However, over the next few games Giorgi managed to quickly right the ship while Pliskova failed to press home the potential momentum shift. Giorgi delivered one of the most emphatic holds of the day to reach 5-4, with two service winners followed by two aces. Three games later, serving to stay in the match for the second time, Pliskova folded with a sixth double fault and two forehand errors to seal Giorgi's second championship point.
Giorgi finished with more aces (seven to four), more winners (16 to 13) and fewer unforced errors (27 to 34) than Pliskova, and faced only two break points over the course of the match. She will move back inside the Top 35 for the first time since May 2019 next week. Next up for the Italian is a repeat of her Montreal semifinal in the first round of Cincinnati against Pegula.
In doubles, Ottawa-native Gabriela Dabrowski and Olympic bronze medalist Luisa Stefani cemented their newly-formed partnership, avenging their loss in the San Jose final to Darija Jurak and Andreja Klepac. Controlling the match from the beginning, the Canadian-Brazillian duo faced just four break points and were broken just once, rolling to a 6-3, 6-4 win to capture the title.
"I think we went into the match technically a lot smarter because of how it went last week," Stefani said. "We built on things from last week. From the whole tournament, I think every match here we kept improving and kept focused on what we had to do. I think that paid off at the end."
This is the first team title for Dabrowski/Stefani, who were playing their third tournament together. Stefani began the season playing with long-time partner Hayley Carter, but teamed with Dabrowski after Carter injured her foot and took a coaching job at Vanderbilt University. The duo confirmed they planned to play together for the rest of the season.
"Luisa, thank you so much for being my partner," Dabrowski said on court. "I'm having so much fun on the court with you. Honestly, I hope that we can continue. Great results are awesome but building something together is so beautiful. I love playing doubles with you so thank you for partnering with me."
Montreal is Dabrowski's 10th career title and the third and biggest title of Stefani's career.
"I'm happy to play with Gab," Stefani said. "We thought about it before. We played last year [in Ostrava], had a great tournament. I knew at some points we would probably play together again. I'm just glad it's working out the way it is."