France’s Caroline Garcia capped off her comeback year by beating Aryna Sabalenka in the summit clash of the WTA Finals to win the biggest title of her career.
Garcia, who topped Maria Sakkari in the semifinals, defeated the Belarusian 7-6(4) 6-4 in a tightly contested affair.
The 29-year-old was languishing at the 70th spot in the world in June but mounted a commendable effort to be among the top eight women by the season’s end by adding the Cincinnati title and reaching the semifinals of the US Open among other efforts.
Her new approach of playing aggressive tennis was on full display in the final as she and Sabalenka, two of the most powerful hitters on Tour, put on a hitting clinic. Backed by powerful serves neither woman faced a breakpoint before Sabalenka’s double-fault issues, (she has 425 double faults this season), caught up to her again in the tiebreak to hand the advantage to Garcia.
Taking advantage of the situation the Frenchwoman broke Sabalenka early in the second and then hung on during a tense deuce game to seal the win over the Belarusian who reached the final by eliminating world number 1 Iga Swiatek.
Winning the WTA Finals will take Caroline Garcia to number 4 in the rankings while Sabalenka climbs to 5th.