Caroline Garcia rolls past Maria Sakkari to WTA Finals title match

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FORT WORTH, Texas — Caroline Garcia rolled to a 6-3, 6-2 semifinal victory over Maria Sakkari on Sunday, reaching the championship of the WTA Finals for the first time in her career.

Garcia will face either top-ranked Iga Swiatek or Aryna Sabalenka on Monday night with a chance to join Amelie Mauresmo (2005) as the only Frenchwomen to win the season-ending event.

Defending doubles champs Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova also advanced to the title match with a 7-6(5), 6-2 semifinal victory over Lyudmyla Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko.

Just 24 hours after beating Daria Kasatkina in a tense 80-minute third set to secure the last spot in the semifinals out of group play, Garcia needed just 74 minutes total for a career-best fourth victory over a top-five opponent this season.

Garcia never trailed, dominating the fifth-ranked Sakkari in winners (21-8) and aces (6-0) on the temporary indoor hard court at Dickies Arena.

“I don’t know,” Garcia said when asked where she found the energy to dominate after the quick turnaround. “Yesterday, I was a little bit tired, but it was nothing unusual after such a big match.”

Garcia has advanced out of group play in both WTA Finals appearances. The 29-year-old lost in the semifinals in the eight-player event five years ago.

“I guess I’m five years older, maybe five years wiser,” said the sixth-ranked Garcia, who was No. 74 about this time last year. “You try to learn from everything. I’ve got a good team behind me, supporting me when I was a little bit doubting myself.”

Sakkari also was among the five players who have reached the semis their first two times since the round-robin format was reintroduced in 2003. The No. 5 player from Greece lost in the semis last year.

Garcia used a 120 mph ace to help erase a break chance for Sakkari and extend her lead to 4-0 in the second set.

Garcia’s sixth and final ace — and tournament-leading 14th — answered a double fault that gave Sakkari another break point. Garcia closed out that game for a 5-1 lead on the way to a 3-0 career record against Sakkari.

Krejcikova and Siniakova are on the verge of completing a dominant season, with just three losses so far and titles in all three Grand Slams in which they’ve competed.

It was the third victory this season for the Czech duo over the fifth-ranked team of Kichenok of Ukraine and Ostapenko of Latvia. One of those wins came at Wimbledon.

Krejcikova and Siniakova will face the winner between Veronika Kudermetova/Elise Mertens and Desirae Krawczyk/Demi Schuurs in the final.

The event was moved to Texas from China over concerns about the safety of Peng Shuai, a Grand Slam doubles champion who accused a former government official there of sexual assault. Coronavirus restrictions also played a part in the decision.

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