BEIJING, China - Caroline Garcia kept her BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global hopes alive with a 10th straight win on Saturday, dismissing Petra Kvitova, 6-3, 7-5, to reach the biggest final of her young career at China Open.
"I know it's not all in my hand for Singapore," Garcia said in her post-match press conference. "I don't really want to be focused on it. It's still a long way, so I just try to be on court, enjoy every minute, walk out, try to improve, and I will see how it goes."
The 23-year-old French star played consistent aggression to outsteady the former World No.2 and advance after 90 minutes on court.
"It was definitely very tight. Like in the first set, every game was very important. She was serving first, so I was down every single time.
"But I know against these kind of players, you have to be focused on your serve, try to be the most aggressive and put the pressure on the return when you have the chance. Sometimes you will get aces or serve winner. You just have to keep trying.
Garcia came to Beijing on a high from winning her first Premier 5 title at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, and was not only playing her first Premier Mandatory semifinal, but was also trying to remain in contention for a maiden WTA Finals berth in singles - having twice before qualified in doubles.
She saved a match point in the quarterfinals to upset No.3 seed Elina Svitolina, but showed few signs of fatigue less than 24 hours removed from that three hour, 21 minute epic.
"Outside of my quads, my back was a little bit tight, I was feeling okay. I did a good recovery yesterday. I took some time to do it, even if it was late.
"But my warmup was a disaster, I have to be honest. It was, like, very bad! Sometimes you have to take experience from everything, and I knew it was going to be difficult. I was not going to feel the same as the previous matches. But it's kind of experience I want. That's why I work hard every day.
"The warmup was very bad, but I did a good preparation just before the match."
In all, she struck 16 winners and converted four of eight break point opportunities, ultimately clinching both sets behind big serves.
"I served better in the second set, I think. At 5-5, I tried to put some pressure on her and I get some free points."
Since the inaugural Wuhan Open in 2014, no woman has won both Wuhan and Beijing in the same year; Kvitova came closest after winning Wuhan finishing runner-up in Beijing three years ago. Standing between Garcia and the Wuhan-Beijing double is newly crowned WTA World No.1 Simona Halep, who avenged her French Open defeat to Jelena Ostapenko to guarantee her ascent to the top spot on Monday.
"That's the kind of match I want to play, against the top players. She's brand-new No. 1. That's a match I look forward to it, even more in the final of a Premier Mandatory."
Garcia and Halep last played in the quarterfinals of the Rogers Cup, where the Romanian won in straight sets.
"It's going to be a battle for sure. I played her in US, in Canada, a couple weeks ago. She's a very tricky player. I will have to play my best to have a chance."