Issue #9 | Alycia Parks Doubles Up in Gaiba

Issue #9 | Alycia Parks Doubles Up in Gaiba

Alycia Parks stepped onto the grass at the Veneto Open in Gaiba, Italy – the season’s only grass-court WTA 125 event, like she straight-up owned it. Parks left the tournament with the singles and doubles titles, enough points to move her closer to the top 100, and perhaps enough of a confidence boost to build on and finish the second half of the year strong. Ms. Parks showed out last weekend and we hope it’s just a sign of what’s to come from the twenty-three-year-old.

2024 has been a challenging year for Alycia Parks who made a ton of noise in 2023 after consecutive 125 level wins in Andorra and Angers, and a stunning defeat of hometown favorite Caroline Garcia in Lyon last February. Parks quickly shot up to number 40 in the rankings and seemed to have all the momentum she needed after a strong start to the year. Since then, however, the talented young star is still navigating the rigors of the tour and trying to maintain the consistency that gave so much initial promise, until last week that is.

On Sunday, Parks took on fellow American, Bernarda Pera in the finals, and dished out a swift 6-3, 6-1 defeat in just 68 minutes. Parks won 86 percent of her first-service points and 84 percent of her returns on Pera’s second serve, shaking off 13 double faults in the process.

Parks’ path to the finals wasn’t a total cakewalk though. The top seed in the qualifiers, she faced a serious test early in the tournament, coming back from two match points down to beat Anna Siskova 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(1).  She’d also tussle with in the quarterfinals against up and coming American, Robin Montgomery, for three sets (6-7, 6-3, 6-4). And would go the distance again (6-3, 1-6, 6-3) against Susan Bandecchi of Switzerland in the semifinals.

The 23-year-old phenom would power through five main-draw matches, grabbing her third WTA 125 singles title. She’s been here before, winning back-to-back in Andorra la Vella and Angers last December. With this win, Parks will shoot up from 148 to 121 in the rankings, pushing her closer to the Top 100. She hit a career-high of World No. 40 last August, and you know she’s gunning to get back there again.

On Saturday, Parks also teamed up with fellow American Hailey Baptiste to take the doubles title. They weren’t even seeded, but they took down the 2 seeds Miriam Kolodziejova and Anna Siskova 7-6, 6-2 in the final. Despite early-round exits on clay at Roland Garros and the WTA 125 Lleida, they found their rhythm on Gaiba’s grass. They kicked off the week by toppling the No. 1 seeds, Anna Danilina and Xu Yifan, setting the stage for the week leading up to the final.

It’s always great to see Hailey Baptiste in action. After fighting through three rounds of qualifiers and a first-round win at Roland Garros, Baptiste cracked the top 100, and has some momentum of her own to build on. With her dynamic skill set and soft hands, she has all the potential in the world to continue to climb up the rankings and find a more comfortable position among the top 100. For Baptiste, this was her second WTA 125 doubles title, and number three for Parks.

Parks only has a few points to cover through the grass season, which is upon us, so she’ll be well poised to recover some ground in the rankings. Hopefully she’ll get through qualifiers for Wimbledon, where she’ll lurk dangerously in any part of the main draw. With her power and athleticism, she could plow through lower ranked players and be real problematic for seeded players now that she seems to be rolling.  If she can string together some wins at Wimbledon and beyond, she’ll be in a solid position come hard court season where she’s most comfortable.

In a nutshell, Alycia Parks took Gaiba by storm, showing the world her skill, power and flair. We’d love to see Parks and Baptiste build on their week in Italy and finish off 2024 strong. It’s also good to know that Parks’ father Michael has resumed full time coaching duties and is back to playing a pivotal role in Alycia’s day-to-day training, strategy, and overall guidance. Ms. Parks seems to be finding her rhythm and is well poised to have great second half of the year, it would be great to see her back in the mix on the regular.

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