WTA Finals: Caroline Garcia has her sights on the final

 - Amandine Reymond

Having qualified for the semifinals of the WTA Finals, Caroline Garcia is due to play Maria Sakkari while Iga Swiatek will face Aryna Sabalenka.

Caroline Garcia WTA Finals ©Mike Frey / FFT

In the semifinals of the Masters back in 2017, Caroline Garcia lost to Venus Williams. In her second appearance at the tournament, the French player has once again reached the semifinals after two impressive wins in the round-robin phase. She first defeated Coco Gauff (6-4 6-3) then Daria Kasatkina, who she beat 4-6 6-1 7-6(5) on Saturday evening, after 2 hours and 27 minutes of intense play. Though she lost to Iga Swiatek (6-3 6-2) in between, the French player finished second in the Tracy Austin group, behind the untouchable Polish champion. 

Caroline Garcia WTA Finals 2022©Mike Frey / FFT

On Sunday evening in Fort Worth, Caroline Garcia will meet Maria Sakkari to vie for a place in the final, and hopefully become the first French player to reach this stage of the competition since Amélie Mauresmo in 2006. The Lyon native has a sizeable task ahead of her, as her future opponent has been on cloud nine since she qualified for the competition and won all three of her round-robin matches (against Ons Jabeur, Jessica Pegula and Aryna Sabalenka) without dropping a single set.

"It will be a really great battle, she’s been full of confidence since she qualified in Mexico last week,” Caroline Garcia said of her future opponent. “She’s won all three of her matches here in straight sets, so she’ll obviously be fresher than me, but I’ll do my best to recover well, prepare for the match and be ready!”

Though Caroline Garcia, who won both of their previous encounters, the most recent one in Cincinnati this year, will aim to capitalise on her positive head-to-head with the Greek player, this semifinal between two of the most aggressive players on the tour promises to get sparks flying. “Caroline’s playing style is unique on the tour,” commented Maria Sakkari. “She often stands a metre in front of the baseline to hit the balls really early and really hard.” 

Sabalenka to challenge Swiatek

If we had to choose a favourite player to clinch the last title of the season, it would clearly be Iga Swiatek. Having dazzled all season long and clinched eight new titles along the way, including two Grand Slams (Roland-Garros and the US Open), the World No.1 sailed through her three round-robin matches (against Coco Gauff, Caroline Garcia and Daria Kasatkina), dropping only thirteen games along the way. 

Knocked out in the round-robin stage last year, in her first WTA Finals appearance, Iga Swiatek will play Aryna Sabalenka for a place in the final. Her opponent, who defeated Ons Jabeur and Jessica Pegula but lost to Maria Sakkari, finished second in the Nancy Richey group and will be making her semifinal debut at the WTA Finals. 

In addition to the confidence she has gained over the course of her outstanding season, Iga Swiatek will be boosted by her four wins in the four matches she has played against the current World No.7 this season, but she should nevertheless be wary of her strong opponent. In their last match, in the semifinals of the US Open, Aryna Sabalenka only bowed out after three sets, and was even a break up at one point in the third set.