Caroline Garcia spoke of her "giant happiness" after coming through a "big fight" to defeat Aryna Sabalenka and become the WTA Finals champion.
The 29-year-old became just the second Frenchwoman after Amelie Mauresmo in 2005 to win the season-ending tournament by coming through a bruising encounter 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Victory propels Garcia back to a joint-career high ranking of fourth, having been languishing down in the mid-70s as recently as June following a series of injuries.
"It's definitely a lot of giant happiness," Garcia said at her post-match press conference.
"A crazy final, a lot of intensity on every point. Just really proud of the work we did through all the year. It was a great match – really went for it. I'm really happy to win my biggest title.
"Just very happy about the mindset, to be really calm at every moment. All the negative emotion doesn't affect me, and that was really a big part of taking the few opportunities I had in the tie-breaker and the first game I broke her in the second."
With the win, Garcia pockets $1.57million in prize money and 1,375 ranking points.
Her triumph in Fort Worth is the culmination of sparkling form that has seen her win every final she has played in 2022, while she has won eight of her last nine over the past six years.
It also marks a fine return to the top table. Back in 2017, 11 straight victories to win WTA 1000 events in Wuhan and Beijing saw Garcia first enter the top 10 and earn a maiden trip to the WTA Finals where she lost to Venus Williams in the semi-finals.
"Sometimes you are emotional or things don't go your way," Garcia said.
"I mean, sometimes there is a big fight, so you have to find your way through it. Some points, where you cannot do anything. You just try to put in the return and to run as fast as you can to the other side.
"And that was one of the biggest points I improved. Today one of the most important things was to stay calm and jump on every opportunity."
Sabalenka had knocked out top seed Iga Swiatek to reach the showpiece match but hit two costly double faults in the first-set breaker – an area that she has struggled with throughout the year.
"I just dropped my level for a little bit. On the tie-break and the first game of the second set. That's it," a rueful Sabalenka reflected.
"I did my best, [but] she played unbelievable tennis."