Caroline Garcia’s fine form at the Wuhan Open this week continued in her semifinal clash, with the Frenchwoman easing past Maria Sakkari in fine style to reach her first final of 2017, and the biggest final of her career so far.
Garcia had beaten both Angelique Kerber and Dominika Cibulkova earlier in the week, and was in control of this match throughout, easing past the Greek qualifier 6-3, 6-2 in just an hour and six minutes to reach her first WTA singles final since June last year. Sakkari had likewise had an impressive week, coming through qualifying and beating Caroline Wozniacki in the second round, though was perhaps a little tired today as she failed to consistently challenge the Frenchwoman.
A run to a Premier final caps off a remarkable turnaround for Garcia, who struggled at the beginning of the season. The Frenchwoman, a former doubles Grand Slam champion, was 11-10 through her opening 21 matches of the season, though has been 29-10 since then and is now heading to potentially ending the season at a career-high ranking. She will now face Ashleigh Barty in an all-unseeded final.
Garcia proves too consistent and solid for Sakkari
Both women would have undoubtedly been fairly confident heading into this clash, with both playing well and picking up some significant wins, though it proved to be Garcia who was able to take control of the encounter and ultimately ease into the final.
The early stages were competitive, with both Garcia and Sakkari starting well, though it was the Frenchwoman who eventually drew the first blood in the sixth game of the encounter, breaking for a 4-2 lead in the opening set. The Frenchwoman was able to consolidate to put herself just a game away from the opening set, and though Sakkari was able to put some pressure on by forcing Garcia to serve it out, she showed very few signs of nerves as she put herself a set away from the final.
Garcia had not dropped a set since the first set of her opening round match against Kerber, and she maintained that winning run to progress to the final. She broke Sakkari early on, taking a 3-1 lead, and continue to break down the Greek’s resistance as she secured a double break and went just two games away from victory. Sakarri showed some signs of fight towards the end, forcing Garcia to save a break point at 4-1 and holding to love when serving to stay in the match, though the Frenchwoman safely saw her way through in the end with an overall stylish performance.