The Insider Wrap is a recap of everything you need to know from the week that was. This week, WTA Insider looks back at the Omnium Banque Nationale in Montreal, Canada, where Camila Giorgi brought the form, Jessica Pegula brought the grit and Ons Jabeur brought the Tunisian fans to their feet.
Performance of the Week: Camila Giorgi
Camila Giorgi playing top-notch tennis is nothing new.
Camila Giorgi playing unbeatable tennis for six consecutive matches? That felt like a development.
The 29-year-old Italian lost just one set en route to the biggest title of her career, defeating three Top 20 opponents, including Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova in the final to win the Omnium Banque Nationale in Montreal.
Giorgi's high-octane power game has found a dangerous level of consistency of the past few months, where she advanced to the Eastbourne semifinals as a qualifier, came within touching distance of the medal round at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and now capturing the third title of her career.
She has done it by being smarter about when to unleash on her big baseline hitting and when to pull back to rely on her underrated speed and court coverage.
Sunday's final was Pliskova's third loss to Giorgi during her hot streak, and the Czech agreed that the improved consistency stands out.
"Now somehow I had the feeling from her that she's more solid," Pliskova said. Even when we played in Eastbourne, she beat super good players. She's doing quite well. It's all about confidence I feel like in tennis.
"Still, I think she's a player, which can hit big winners. You can't only wait for mistakes. That was not really my mindset. Of course, even sometimes you play well, she can still play fast because she has all these possibilities for how to play. At some point she's missing, as well.
"It's difficult to play these kinds of players because it's not only like about me, she has big weapons as well."
From Serena Williams to Petra Kvitova, from Jelena Ostapenko to Aryna Sabalenka, the challenge for players who possess game-changing power has been learning to control it. Has Giorgi unlocked a new sustainable version of her power game? If so, she will be an absolute force in Cincinnati and the US Open.
Surprise of the Week: Jessica Pegula
The American continued her fine form at the WTA 1000 level, advancing to her first WTA 1000 semifinal in Montreal. The result in itself is no surprise. After ending Danielle Collins' 12-match win-streak in the Round of 16 - arguably the match of the tournament - Pegula advanced to her fourth WTA 1000 quarterfinal in the past 12 months.
What was surprising about Pegula's Montreal run was the how. After taking a slew of tough three-set losses this season, the American reeled off four consecutive three-set wins, defeating Anett Kontaveit, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Collins and Jabeur, before being the only player to take a set off Giorgi all week.
Karolina Pliskova and Aryna Sabalenka
What does the 2021 season look like if Aryna Sabalenka doesn't play Karolina Pliskova, and Karolina Pliskova doesn't play Jessica Pegula or Camila Giorgi. En route to her third 1000-level or above final of the season, Pliskova did precisely what she did at Wimbledon: stop a red-hot Sabalenka. The World No.3 continues to put herself in contention in the late stages of big tournaments, but Pliskova is growing in confidence in the matchup.
Similarly, with her loss to Giorgi in the Montreal final, Pliskova is 0-3 against Giorgi this season, along with 0-4 against Pegula. In a time of unprecedented depth and parity, this is a clear reminder that matchups matter on the WTA Tour.
With athlete mental health in the spotlight for good reason this year, Marino is a foundational figure in seeing how depression can chase a player out of the sport and how, after therapy and treatment, they can find their way back. Appearing in the main draw in Montreal for the first time in 10 years, the big-hitting Canadian wildcard scored wins over Madison Keys and Paula Badosa to advance to the Round of 16.
For more on Marino's story, click here.
It would be too easy to link Siniakova's improved singles play to her longtime doubles partner Barbora Krejcikova's recent success. Siniakova has been a dangerous name in the singles draw for years and she ousted Serena Williams en route to the Parma semifinals during the spring.
But Siniakova has clearly leveled up her singles results over the past three months, making the final in Bad Homburg in June. In Montreal she defeated Jelena Ostapenko and Garbiñe Muguruza before bowing out to Sara Sorribes Tormo in three sets.
If there is a trophy for the woman who played the most joyous tennis in Montreal, that would go to Ons Jabeur. The Tunisian has made the Round of 16 or better at 13 of her 14 WTA tournaments this year and her boisterous run in Montreal has boosted her into the Top 8 of the Porsche Race Leaderboard.
As Jabeur put together highlight-reel wins over Daria Kasatkina and Bianca Andreescu, her Tunisian fan base came out in droves and powered the Montreal night sessions. After a year of watching tennis in moderately quiet stadiums, hearing the roars and soccer chants from Jabeur's fans was a joyous comfort.
Pegula: "I want to shout out all the Tunisian fans, it's really amazing you guys coming out. I know you weren't rooting for me but what Ons has brought has been incredible. So it's amazing to see her reaching people around the world and it's amazing." #OBN21— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) August 14, 2021
The Romanian downplayed any expectations ahead of her first match in three months, where she would take on Collins in the first round of Montreal. She walked away feeling well ahead of schedule after a grueling, high-quality three-set loss. She was happy with her movement and how she felt the ball on court.
All good things come to an end, but Collins certainly didn't let her 12-match winning streak go down without a fight. She clawed back from a break down in the third to get back on serve at 5-5 against Pegula, before losing 6-4, 3-6, 7-5. Ultimately, the loss may prove to be a blessing for Collins, giving her body some time to rest and recover as she eyes New York.
Projected rankings update
After dropping out of the Top 10 for the first time since 2016 at the start of Wimbledon, Pliskova has made back-to-back finals. With her runner-up showings at Wimbledon and Montreal, the Czech is back in the Top 5 for the first time since September.
Montreal champion Giorgi surges from No.71 to No.34 to inch closer to her career-high at No.26.
After the first WTA 1000 of the summer hardcourt season, the WTA Top 10 sees a bit of shuffling, but no major movement:
4. Pliskova (+2)
5. Kenin (-1)
6. Svitiolina (-1)
7. Andreescu (+1)
8. Swiatek (-1)
For a look at the Porsche Race Leaderboard, click here.