Caroline Garcia denies Sabalenka to cap comeback year with WTA Finals crown | WTA Finals

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Caroline Garcia has continued her remarkable resurgence by winning the WTA Finals, the biggest title of her career. The French player defeated Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 with a serving masterclass in the tournament final in Fort Worth.

Garcia was ranked outside the top 70 in mid-June but has since won four titles and made the semi-finals of the US Open. The 29-year-old will now end the year as the world No 4, matching the career-high ranking she first reached in 2018.

“Today was such an intense final,” a smiling Garcia told Tennis Channel while donning a cowboy hat. “I’m very proud of how I was able to keep my mind calm and really focus on one point at a time, one game at a time.”

Both players’ thunderous serves were firing early and neither faced a break point in the first set of the final of the season-ending tournament in Texas. But in the tiebreaker, Sabalenka’s inconsistent second serve failed her as she produced two double faults at key moments.

Garcia kept the pressure on from there, breaking to open the second set and keeping her opponent at bay on serve, firing down 11 aces without facing a break point. Leading 5-4 and serving for the title, Garcia came through a tense deuce game, dropping to the floor when a Sabalenka forehand sailed wide on match point.

Caroline Garcia celebrates victory at match point.
Caroline Garcia celebrates victory at match point. Photograph: Ron Jenkins/AP

After receiving the Billie Jean King trophy from the American tennis great Chris Evert, Garcia had kind words for Sabalenka, who stunned the world No 1, Iga Swiatek, in Sunday’s semi-final and will end the year back in the top five of the rankings.

“You bring so much energy on the court every time, it’s always a pleasure to watch,” Garcia said on stage, before turning her thoughts to her own return to form. “It’s super important to keep improving,” she said. “If you don’t move forward, you’re moving backwards. And that’s not something we want to do on this team.”

“Caro, I really hate you right now but you played unbelievable tennis, not only tonight but this year,” Sabalenka said in response. “Congrats on the results and hopefully we’ll play many more finals.”

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