Caroline Garcia stuns Halep to claim first premier title in Beijing

Beijing, Oct 8: French woman tennis player Caroline Garcia completed a career milestone here on Sunday, overcoming to-be world No. 1 Simona Halep of Romania 6-4, 7-6(3) final to become the first ever player to win Wuhan-Beijing double. With her 11th consecutive win in China over the last two weeks, the 23-year-old will raise her world ranking to ninth when the updated rankings are to be released on Monday. It will take her much closer to maiden WTA Finals berth in singles, reports Xinhua news agency. Only the world top eight players will get the tickets to the WTA Finals which are to be held in Singapore in November. "It all means something. To win a title, it always means something because you finish the week undefeated," Garcia said about her great run in the last two weeks after the Beijing Final. "To be in the top 10 also means something because it's a step in your career that you want to achieve. It's a very important goal..To have the chance to be in the fight for Singapore," she added. The final on Sunday turned out to be a close one, as both players won a total 76 points during the 112-minute match. Garcia was able to break Halep's serve in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead, then held her own to take the first set. "I consider that she won the match, I didn't lose it," Halep said after the match. "I think I played well. I hit the ball well. I served pretty okay. But she served better in the important moments."  The seventh game of the second set was a pivotal one, as Garcia saved nine points to hold her serve. The two players had to fight in the tiebreak as there was no break in the set. In the tiebreak, Halep's two unforced errors when trailing by 4-3 extinguished her hope for the title, and Garcia's brilliant forehand secured her the victory. "I think I fought till the end, which I'm really happy about. She played an amazing tennis. To win two tournaments in a row, it's a great thing. She deserved to win today. She was better," Halep said. Before coming to China, Garcia hadn't beat any of the top 10 players this season, but ousted three in the past two weeks: Dominika Cibulkova in Wuhan, and Elina Svitolina and Halep in Beijing. "It was such an amazing two weeks, it went so fast. I have a feeling [like] I started these tournaments yesterday or two days ago. To play every single day, it was just after every match you had to forget about what happened and be on the present again," Garcia said.

IANS