France’s Caroline Garcia, in the second-to-last regular-season week of the year, won her first title of 2018 on Sunday, in the Tianjin Open final beating former No. 1 and top seed Karolina Pliskova 7-6(7), 6-3.
“The emotion and the feeling after the match point is something very special and very difficult to describe,” Garcia said afterwards. “That’s what you’re working on all year long to get, this trophy in your hand and those emotions.”
The No. 2 seed was down 1-5 in the first-set tiebreak before staging a comeback, including saving a set point.
“It was a very intense first set,” said Garcia. “I was down set point, but I kept fighting and I tried to move forward, and take my opportunity. I was a little bit more aggressive than her, and I think that’s what made the difference in the first set.”
It was the first title in over a year for Garcia. While out of the race for the year-end championship this year, last year she won Wuhan and Beijing back-to-back to qualify for the WTA Finals.
“I’ve won three titles in China so it’s bringing me luck,” said Garcia. “It’s really nice, China is doing a lot for women’s tennis.”
Pliskova with a win would have clinched a spot in the eight-woman WTA Finals field, but will have to wait until next week. The first-set tiebreaker took longer than the entire final played in Linz on Sunday, won by Camila Giorgi.
Garcia in the second set ran out to a 5-0 lead before finally closing it out 6-3.
“At 5-0 down, she had nothing more to lose, so she probably played a little bit more relaxed, and I got a little tight,” Garcia said. “But there were some great rallies. I just tried to stay present and positive, not panic because she was coming back. I was still up, I was 5-3 and my serve, and in the match, I did some great service games, so I was just trying to do the same and focus point by point. That’s what helped me.”
The 24-year-old Garcia improved to 6-2 in career finals. Pliskova dropped to 2-1 in finals in 2018 and 11-11 career.
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