Garcia beats Sabalenka in straight sets for WTA Finals title


Caroline Garcia plopped on a cowboy hat to go along with the trophy she was holding after telling followers she had loved her first journey to Texas.

There was loads for the Frenchwoman to love in Cowtown.

Garcia took a good first set and went on to a 7-6(4), 6-4 victory over Aryna Sabalenka to win the championship of the WTA Finals on Monday night time.

The sixth-ranked Garcia grew to become the second participant from France to win the season-ending occasion after Amelie Mauresmo in 2005, additionally the final time the WTA Finals have been held in the U.S.

Tied in the deciding recreation of a match with only one break level, Garcia’s service winner gave her a second probability to shut it out. When Sabalenka despatched a forehand lengthy, Garcia dropped to the court docket on her again and put clenched fists over her eyes.

“It’s positively quite a lot of pleasure and happiness,” Garcia instructed reporters about an hour later, cowboy hat nonetheless on and with the trophy on a desk simply to her left. “It’s been a insane, insane last, quite a lot of depth on each single level from the start.”

The occasion was moved to Texas from China over issues in regards to the security of Peng Shuai, a Grand Slam doubles champion who accused a former authorities official there of sexual assault. Coronavirus restrictions additionally performed a component in the choice.

Garcia received her final six sets after dropping the primary in a winner-take-all match in opposition to Daria Kasatkina in group play. The 29-year-old is the oldest WTA Finals winner since Serena Williams at 33 in 2014.

The solely participant to win titles on all three surfaces this season, Garcia was simply as comfy as Sabalenka on the non permanent indoor onerous court docket at Dickies Arena close to downtown Fort Worth.

As a outcome, Garcia handed the No. 7 participant from Belarus simply her third loss in 12 profession hard-court finals. The 24-year-old Sabalenka was attempting to turn out to be the primary from her nation to win the WTA Finals.

“We did know that we have been two highly effective gamers, and I believe we performed that manner,” Garcia stated. “Just very completely satisfied in regards to the mindset.”

The first set went to a tiebreaker with out a break of serve in a gathering of the tour (Garcia) and match (Sabalenka) leaders in aces coming into the match.

Garcia received six consecutive factors in the tiebreaker, capped by her tenth ace of the primary set for a 6-2 lead. Sabalenka’s third double fault ended the set. Garcia completed with 11 aces to 4 for Sabalenka.

Two break probabilities got here rapidly in the primary recreation of the second set, however Garcia solely wanted one. She ripped a forehand winner down the road on Sabalenka’s serve to go in entrance for good.

“I simply dropped my degree for a little bit bit on the tiebreak and in the primary recreation of the second set,” Sabalenka stated. “That was the important thing moment.”

Sabalenka reached the title match by beating top-ranked Iga Swiatek. That semifinal victory ended a 15-match successful streak in opposition to top-10 opponents that was the longest on tour in 35 years.

Going into the WTA Finals, Garcia was the one entrant in the eight-player area to beat Swiatek — however was ranked forty fifth when she did it on the Poland Open in July. Garcia went on to her greatest Grand Slam end, reaching the semifinals on the U.S. Open.

“I’m impressed with what she’s accomplished this season,” Sabalenka stated. “I believe there’s many extra finals for her. Hopefully we’ll play in opposition to one another in the finals, and hopefully I’ll win the subsequent one.”

Garcia’s fourth victory of the season, second solely to Swiatek’s eight, got here in the second 6-7 assembly in WTA Finals historical past. The different was Maria Sharapova-Serena Williams in 2004.

Doubles match

Veronika Kudermetova and Elise Mertens beat defending champions Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova 6-2, 4-6, 11-9 to win the doubles title.

Kudermetova and Mertens received six consecutive factors after falling behind 7-2 in the champions tiebreaker earlier than closing issues out on their second match level.

Krejcikova and Siniakova have been attempting to complete off a dominant season that included titles in any respect three of the Grand Slam occasions in which they competed. It was simply the fourth lack of the season for the Czech duo, which was attempting to turn out to be the seventh doubles crew to defend a WTA Finals championship.

Kudermetova and Mertens avenged a loss to Krejcikova and Siniakova in the Australian Open semifinals.

Mertens is a three-time main winner in doubles, together with the 2019 U.S. Open and 2021 Australian Open with Sabalenka.


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