September 30, 2017 / 3:42 PM / 2 months ago

Tennis: France's Garcia downs Barty to win Wuhan title

REUTERS - France’s Caroline Garcia bagged her first Premier 5 level title at the Wuhan Open with a battling 6-7(3) 7-6(4) 6-2 win over Ashleigh Barty in the final on Saturday.

The French Open quarter-finalist fired 32 winners and served eight aces, winning eight out of 16 break points to prevail in two hours and 43 minutes.

“A title is the best thing you can have in tennis! A big one or a small one doesn’t matter. That is why you fight all year... I feel over the moon,” Garcia said.

Garcia put Barty’s serve under pressure in the first game but the Australian saved two break points to hold. Garcia pegged the 21-year-old back with deep returns and broke in the fifth.

After a string of missed chances, Barty levelled at 5-5 with a break but the world number 20 hit back. Barty then forced a tiebreak and sealed the set as Garcia felt the pressure.

Barty targeted Garcia’s serve to take a 2-0 lead in the second set but a spirited reply left the set at 2-2. The two players traded breaks freely before the Frenchwoman held her nerve in the breaker to level the match.

Switching gears for an early break in the deciding set, Garcia raced into a 5-2 lead before sealing victory with a powerful serve down the middle.

With three wins over top-10 ranked players this week, Barty is looking to build on her fine run in the home stretch of the season.

“I feel this is where I belong,” she said. “I have had a fantastic year so far and we have a chance to finish the year strong.”

Earlier, Martina Hingis celebrated turning 37 by winning the doubles title partnering Taiwan’s Yung-Jan Chan. The U.S. Open champions beat Zhaoxuan Yang and Shuko Aoyama 7-6(5) 3-6 10-4 for their third consecutive title in Wuhan.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond

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