China Open: Caroline Garcia beats world number one Simona Halep to take title

Caroline Garcia
Garcia has now won five titles on the WTA tour

France's Caroline Garcia beat new world number one Simona Halep to win the China Open and overtake Briton Johanna Konta in the race for Singapore.

Unseeded Garcia edged Romanian Halep 6-4 7-6 (7-3) for her second successive title after victory at the Wuhan Open.

She hit 17 winners and saved nine break points in the second set to move into the eighth and final qualifying spot for the tour finals.

Konta must now reach the final in Moscow to have a chance of overtaking.

Britain's Konta will play in the Kremlin Cup, which begins on 16 October, but Garcia has put herself in pole position with a hard-fought victory over Halep.

Halep moved to the top of the world rankings following her semi-final victory over Jelena Ostapenko on Saturday, and broke Garcia in the first game of the final.

But Garcia immediately broke back, before battling to take a tight first set.

Halep then wasted countless opportunities in the second before her final shot in the tie-break sailed well wide to hand Garcia the title.

Analysis

BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

As a result of winning the title in Beijing - a week after winning the autumn's other big event in Wuhan - Caroline Garcia has now moved 185 points clear of Jo Konta in the eighth and final qualifying position for the WTA Finals in Singapore.

Konta is not playing this coming week, and although Garcia plays again (as the top seed in Tianjin, she has drawn wild card Maria Sharapova in the first round), the race will definitely go to the final week of the season.

Konta is due to play the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. Garcia is not currently entered, but is very likely to be offered a wildcard if she requests one.

Either way, Konta must now reach the Moscow final to have any chance of making her debut in Singapore. And remember, she has lost in the first round of her last four tournaments.

If not, she will be first alternate, so there is always the possibility she could still get into the draw if one of the top eight picks up a serious injury in the next two weeks.

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