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Caroline Garcia stages epic comeback to seize Wuhan Open singles crown
source: Xinhua     2017-10-09

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Caroline Garcia of France celebrates on the awarding ceremony after winning the singles final match against Ashleigh Barty of Australia at 2017 WTA Wuhan Open in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, on Sept. 30, 2017. Caroline Garcia won 2-1.(Xinhua/Xiao Yijiu) 

France's Caroline Garcia rebounded from a set down to claim the singles title at the Dongfeng Motors Wuhan Open in a 6-7 (3), 7-6 (4), 6-2 win over Ashleigh Barty of Australia here on Sept. 30, 2017.

The nearly three-hour affair was a nail-biter of a match to round out a week that has been full of them, with each player going on to lose sets that they earlier had led.

Both players started off wobbly in the first set. The first service game took 9 minutes to decide, with the two players fighting to deuce in a back and forth that was only resolved with a Barty ace from the baseline that Garcia was powerless to stop.

That moment was to be a harbinger of things to come, with each player faltering at key moments to breathe life into their opponent's chances.

Garcia would hit some stellar shots of her own as the first set progressed, and took a two-game lead only to see it erased by the Australian to force a tiebreak in the first.

Garcia suffered a double-fault in the breaker that allowed Barty to seize the momentum and take the set.

The second set started off well for Barty, as the Australian broke Garcia's opening service game and went on to nab the next two, putting her nasty backhand on display and clearly getting into her opponent's head.

After she fell 1-2 behind the Australian in the second set, Garcia's hitting, which had been shaky earlier in the night, suddenly sprang to life. She pulled level on a break of Barty's serve, but her Australian opponent pushed hard on return, fighting her to deuce in the next service game before Garcia snatched a 3-2 lead with a well-timed ace.

That began a back-and-forth that saw six consecutive breaks of serve as the players fought to 6-5 for the Australian. Some unfortunate shooting by Barty could not have come at a worse time, and Garcia pulled level to force a tiebreaker.

Barty's serving woes continued in the breaker. Suffering a a double-fault much like her opponent had in the first, the Australian managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory as Garcia took the second set to force a decider.

Garcia ran away with the match in the third, getting two breaks against a visibly exhausted Barty and going on to serve it out 6-2.

Garcia later pointed to a key moment in the second set as the turnaround for her.

"At the end of the second set, I tried to be a bit more aggressive. I could finally find the things on the slice backhand, because that was (making) me crazy. I mean, it's not often you get a girl who (has) such a great slice backhand like this," she said in the post-match press conference.

Garcia added that she never felt comfortable with her opponent's infamously mean backhand, but had to "just go for her shots" to find a solution.

Barty, for her part, points to her service game as the main reason for her loss. "I think my serve let me down," she said in the post-match presser, but added that "sometimes the cookie crumbles that way. It was a hell of a match."

Earlier in the night, the doubles final saw Chan Yung-Jan of Chinese Taipei and Martina Hingis of Switzerland defeat China's Yang Zhaoxuan and Shuko Aoyama of Japan, 7-6(5), 3-6, 10-4. It is the third consecutive win for Chan/Hingis here in Wuhan.

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