SINGAPORE, Oct 25, (AFP): World number eight Caroline Garcia kept her WTA Finals campaign alive with an epic three-set victory over Elina Svitolina in Singapore on Wednesday.
Down 5-3 and on the brink of elimination, Garcia dug deep and reeled off four straight games to prevail 6-7 (9/7), 6-3, 7-5 in two hours and 44 minutes. It was the pair’s second consecutive marathon following Svitolina’s victory earlier this month in Beijing.
Garcia turned the tide through her high-voltage groundstrokes, enjoying a sizeable 58-33 advantage in winners. It means Garcia, Svitolina and Garbine Muguruza will battle for the final semifinal position from the Red Group with Caroline Wozniacki having booked a berth.
France’s Garcia looked set to be eliminated after being broken in the eighth game of the final set but the Ukrainian was unable to serve it out. Garcia broke again and ran out with the contest.
The 24-year-old had earlier lost two first set points to squander a tense tie break but rebounded during a dominant second set to reignite her confidence.
In the first match of the evening, a rampant Wozniacki said a more assertive approach fuelled her spectacular start to the WTA Finals after she thrashed world number one Simona Halep in straight sets.
The 27-year-old stunned Halep 6-0, 6-2 in just 63 minutes in Singapore to storm into the last four of the year-end tournament for the loss of just four games. The sixth-seeded Dane also crushed Elina Svitolina in her opening match, winning the last 10 games en route to a 6-2, 6-0 victory.
Wozniacki, a renowned counter-puncher, said she has enjoyed playing a more aggressive game in the round-robin format.
“Even if you lose the first match, you still have nothing to lose,” she told reporters. “It’s just a nice cushion to have. I think that kind of motivates me to start off strong and just go for it.
“I just ran a lot of balls down and I played aggressive and I mixed up the pace. Everything I wanted to do was going my way.”
It was a bitterly disappointing evening for Halep, who was impressive in her opening victory over Garcia.
“I made too many mistakes and she didn’t miss,” Halep said. “It was one of my bad days. During the points I missed too many and I wanted to over-hit the ball.” The 26-year-old now finds herself in a battle to reach the semi-finals, and next plays Svitolina in a crunch match on Friday.