23-year-old Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia has the momentum of a runaway train on tour at the moment, as she dispatched the resurgent, adversity-defying Petra Kvitova in the China Open semifinals, securing her ninth straight win.
This is bad news for Brits, as it is Johanna Konta’s WTA Finals spot that Garcia is now relentlessly chasing down. Konta lost out in the final week to Kuznetsova last year; is history about to repeat itself?
Garcia shows no sign stopping her purple patch
Five double faults from Kvitova in the first set helped Garcia to take control without really looking in trouble, taking it 6-3. Kvitova recovered and raced to a 2-0 lead in the second set, but at the 3rd time of asking Garcia broke back in the 3rd game to underline her impressive resilience. It was back-and-forth until the 11th game. Garcia secured that crucial break, going onto hold her serve and securing an impressive 6-3, 7-5 victory.
Garcia needs to fight fatique and Halep in the final
The 23year-old in-form Frenchwoman is arguably the player on the tour at the moment, defying a strapped thigh and fatigue to secure back-to-back finals. Logic tells you that this should catch up with her, but you can’t help thinking that this tough cookie could defy these factors even longer and secure back-to-back titles. Should she do this then it would be hard to deny her that coveted 8th WTA Finals slot in Singapore.
Simona Halep leads the head-to-head 2-0 between these players. The last meeting between this pair came at the Canadian Masters 2017, but Garcia is in unbelievable form now and it would be unwise to write her off. Should Caroline Garcia prevail in this tantalizing final, then Konta would need to reach the final of the Kremlin Cup in order to wrestle back the 8th WTA Finals qualification spot. Konta is in polar opposite form to Garcia, and will need to start off by snapping a five-match losing streak. It’s down to the wire and Garcia now has the momentum.