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Second-seeded Caroline Garcia won her first tournament of the year with a 7-6 (7), 6-3 win over top-seeded Karolina Pliskova in the Tianjin Open on Sunday. It was the 16th-ranked Garcia’s first title since she won back-to-back trophies at the Wuhan and Beijing tournaments in Asia just over a year ago. The Frenchwoman’s two titles at the end of last season earned her a spot into the year-end WTA Finals in Singapore. This year, the victory in Tianjin is not enough to put Garcia into a second consecutive year-end final appearance.
Pliskova’s failure to take the title also kept her from confirming a berth in the WTA Finals. Currently, in eighth place in the race to Singapore, the Czech will have to wait out the results from next week’s tournaments in Luxembourg and Moscow to see if she qualifies for one of the three remaining spots. Pliskova is scheduled to play in Moscow.
American Sloane Stephens, Ukrainian Elena Svitolina and Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens are the other remaining contenders for Singapore. Garcia was down 1-5 in the first set tiebreaker before she rebounded. She saved a set point for Pliskova at 5-6 to go on to win the hour-long first set.
In the second set, Garcia raced to a 5-0 lead, and first served for the match at 5-1, but had to wait for her victory to come three games later. She secured the title with her sixth ace of the match.
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