Wuhan Open

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Garcia wins Wuhan Open for first title of year

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WUHAN, China — Unseeded Caroline Garcia of France won her first title of the year on Saturday, beating Ashleigh Barty 6-7 (3), 7-6 (4), 6-2 in the Wuhan Open final.

“A title is the best, it’s the best thing you can have in tennis. A big one or a small one, it doesn’t matter,” said Garcia, who clinched her fourth career title.

The 20th-ranked Garcia, playing her first final of 2017, struck first by breaking Barty’s serve in the seventh game and holding the next to take a 5-3 lead. Barty easily held her serve and broke back for 5-5. Neither player could then hold their serve and Barty won the tiebreaker.

The second set saw both players struggling for consistency in their serves and trading breaks. Barty’s sliced backhand caused her Australian opponent some problems and she served twice for the set but was unable to close. It was Garcia’s turn to win the tiebreaker.

Garcia went 3-1 up in the decider and gained another break before taking the title with a stunning serve.

“I feel this where I belong,” said 37th-ranked Barty, who beat French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the semifinals. “I’ve had a fantastic year so far.”

Ostapenko downs Muguruza to reach Wuhan semis

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WUHAN, China — French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko beat Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the Wuhan Open quarterfinals on Thursday.

Ostapenko came from a break down in the deciding set, winning the last five games to beat Muguruza for the first time and a world No. 1 for the first time.

“I just beat No. 1 and it’s amazing,” Ostapenko said.

No. 4-ranked Karolina Pliskova also lost from a set up, falling to Ashleigh Barty of Australia who beat a top-five player for the first time 4-6, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (2).

Barty will meet Ostapenko, the only seed to reach the semifinals. The other semi features Caroline Garcia of France and qualifier Maria Sakkari of Greece.

Kasatkina upsets Halep at Wuhan Open

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WUHAN, China — No. 2-ranked Simona Halep lost her opening match at the Wuhan Open, dismantled by Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-1 on Tuesday.

Halep received a bye into the second round. She broke Kasatkina early but the Russian dominated thereafter.

It was Kasatkina’s third win over a top-five player, after two wins over then-No. 1 Angelique Kerber this year.

“The game was much more difficult than the score is,” Kasatkina said.

Halep had a chance this week to supplant Garbine Muguruza as No. 1 by reaching the final with other results going her way.

No. 4 Karolina Pliskova kept alive her shot at No. 1 by beating local Shuai Zhang 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. To regain the No. 1 ranking, Pliskova must win the Wuhan title and hope Muguruza loses before the semifinals. Muguruza was in action late.

“I always want to play better than I did last year; I already won one round so hopefully I can win one more,” Pliskova said.

Another Russian, two-time major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, lost to Alize Cornet of France 6-3, 6-3.

Three other seeds advanced: No. 7 and 2016 finalist Dominika Cibulkova, No. 8 Jelena Ostapenko, and No. 9 Agnieszka Radwanska.

Ostapenko came back to beat Barbora Strycova 2-6, 7-5, 6-3, and Radwanska saw off Julia Goerges of Germany 7-5, 7-5.

Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, Caroline Garcia of France, Wang Qiang of China, and Varvara Lepchenko of the U.S. were also winners on Tuesday.