France’s Caroline Garcia won the biggest title of her career in the unlikely all-unseeded final of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open in China, defeating Ashleigh Barty 6-7(3), 7-6(4), 6-2.
The tournament featured eight of the Top 10 players on the WTA rankings.
“I just feel very happy and proud of my fight of today, proud of all the work we did,” Garcia said. “Sometimes, it was difficult for me after some good matches to keep it going. That’s what I did great today. It’s difficult when you just win after two hours 45 minutes to say exactly how I feel, but to win a title, it’s always something very special.”
Each player held a lead in the tiebreak set they lost.
“I think my serve let me down when I was serving for the match,” Barty said. “My first serve deserted me a little bit. I put myself in a position where I was only a few points away from a title…It’s disappointing not to come away with it in the end, but sometimes the cookie crumbles that way. It was a hell of a match. Caro is a great friend of mine. I wouldn’t want anybody on the other side of the net.”
After stealing the second-set breaker, Garcia ran to an early lead in the third set and never looked back, closing it out 6-2.
“I just tried to make some changes in my tactics, and stay always very aggressive,” Garcia said. “Even when I was break down, I know that tennis is not over until it’s over. So I tried my best. I ran and fought, and I did it.”
Garcia during the week upset No. 12 Angelique Kerber and and No. 7 Dominika Cibulkova, while Barty upended No. 5 Johanna Konta, No. 9 Aggie Radwanska, No. 3 Karolina Pliskova and No. 8 Jelena Ostapenko.
The 21-year-old Barty walked away from the sport three years ago to play cricket, then early last year returned to tennis.
It was Garcia’s first title of the year, and she improves to 4-2 in career finals. Barty, who is projected to rise from 37 to a career-high No. 19, fell to 1-2 in finals, all in 2017.
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