American Alycia Parks relies on routine to win maiden WTA title

Feb 6 (Reuters) - American Alycia Parks said she hoped to make a habit out of winning after capturing her first WTA title with a stunning victory over top-seeded Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia in the Lyon Open final, adding that routines helped her during training.

The 22-year-old Parks beat the 2022 WTA Finals champion 7-6(7) 7-5 on Sunday for her first top-five win, rising to a career-high ranking of 51 in the world from 79 to emerge as the latest young player from the U.S. to make a mark on the tour.

Having given fans a glimpse of her talent by beating world number seven Maria Sakkari and former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in Ostrava last year, Parks said it felt amazing to hold her first WTA trophy.

"Words can't explain it. Just last year, I was in an (ITF Challenger) $60,000 final and now I have won a WTA 250," said Parks, who hit 28 winners in the Lyon final, including 15 aces.

"I made sure I focused on my service games to get through, because I knew it wasn't going to be an easy match. So staying within myself and fighting for every point, and that got me through the match.

Structure to her training days helped, she said.

"The key to a successful week for me was keeping the same routine. I wake up around the same time every morning and eat the same breakfast, same dinner. Basically doing the same routine, try to make it a habit if it's working."

The rise of Parks comes at a promising time for American tennis, with 13 men's players and 12 women's players all inside the top 60 of the ATP and WTA rankings.

Speaking ahead of the Australian Open qualifying competition last month, Parks outlined her lofty ambitions for 2023.

"The next short goal is 50," Parks had said in Sydney. "But I definitely see myself as top 10 this year."

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru Editing by Bernadette Baum

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