WTA Finals: Caroline Garcia downs Aryna Sabalenka to claim season-ending trophy

France's Caroline Garcia claimed the biggest win of her career after downing Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets to triumph at the season-ending WTA Finals.

The 29-year-old becomes only the second Frenchwoman to win the prestigious title after Amelie Maursemo in 2005.

Garcia triumphed 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 in one hour and 42 minutes.

Once touted as a future world number one, Garcia made a big splash on the tennis scene before enduring several lean years without a title.

After finishing last year ranked a disappointing 74th in the world, things started to click again for Garcia in the second half of 2022, resulting in a long-awaited triumph at the Bad Homburg Open in June.

She would go on to win two more titles in Poland and Cincinnati before reaching the semi-finals at the US Open to surge back into the top 10.

Despite her late-season form, she was not considered one of the favourites for the WTA Finals, yet she was the last woman standing after defeating Sabalenka in Monday's final in Texas.

She came through the group phase with two wins - losing only to top seed Iga Swiatek - before easing past Maria Sakkari in the semi-final.

Sabalenka put up a brilliant fight in the opening set as neither player faced a break point and the seventh seed then took the first mini-break in the tie-breaker.

The Frenchwoman, though, hit back and edged the tie-breaker before a break in the first game of the second set secured the win.

"Today was an amazing final, so much intensity on every single point," she said after her win.

"I'm very proud of how I was able to keep my mind calm and really focus on one point at a time, one game at a time."

Garcia collected a cheque of $1.57 million and added 1,375 points to her rankings to move back up to No 4 and, while Swiatek remains comfortable at No 1, there is no reason why the Frenchwoman can't move up further in the coming year.

It has been long journey for the 29-year-old, but it is not yet complete.

"To all the people I have been able to share the past to this trophy," she said. "I met a lot of people along the way. Some people are here, some people that met me when I was a 12-year-old little girl.

"I took memories, and I took positives from all those experiences and I would like to thanks all these experiences who have made me a better person and a better player."

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