Caroline Garcia saved match point and triumphed 7-6(9), 3-6, 7-5 over No.9 seed Alizé Cornet in an all-French semifinal at the Bad Homburg Open presented by Engel & Voelkers. Her 2-hour, 45-minute victory puts Garcia into her 11th career final.
The title match will be a first-time encounter with the unseeded Bianca Andreescu, who reached her sixth career final, and first off hard courts, after a neck injury forced No.4 seed Simona Halep to withdraw ahead of their semifinal.
Garcia had not reached a Hologic WTA Tour final since Nottingham 2019; and though she had led the head-to-head against Cornet 3-2 before the match, Cornet had won both times they had played since 2017. However, this was their first meeting on grass, as well as the deepest into a tournament they had faced each other.
No.75-ranked Garcia has converted both of her previous grass-court finals into titles, having previously lifted the trophy at Mallorca 2016 and Nottingham 2019. Her overall record in WTA finals is 7-3.
Match management: A serve-dominated contest saw just five breaks of serve in total: two for Cornet as she eased away to the second set and then, after a break each at the start of the decider, the decisive one for Garcia in the penultimate game of the match.
Indeed, neither player even faced a break point in a supremely tight opener which was fittingly decided by an overtime tiebreak. Garcia's commitment to coming forward proved crucial; the 28-year-old saved one of two set points she faced with a neat forehand volley, then sealed her fourth set point with another.
The second set saw Cornet up her aggression to capture the first service break of the day for 4-3, part of a run of five games that saw her gain the upper hand over an error-strewn Garcia. Similarly, Cornet took four out of five games in the third set as she turned a 3-1 deficit into a 5-4 lead.
But in that game, Garcia staved off a match point with a solid one-two punch, then immediately captured the Cornet serve for 6-5 with a fizzing forehand return winner. The former World No.4 managed to serve out the match in style, sealing her first match point by nailing a backhand winner down the line.
Andreescu advances via walkover
2019 US Open champion and former World No.5 Andreescu is playing her sixth tournament of the season following a six-month hiatus to look after her mental health, and had already notched some significant numbers. This week had marked the first time in the Canadian's career that she had won consecutive main-draw matches on grass, and her quarterfinal upset of No.1 seed Daria Kasatkina was her third Top 20 win of 2022.
Saturday's final will be No.64-ranked Andreescu's first since Miami 2021, where she was forced to retire against Ashleigh Barty. She will face either No.9 seed Alizé Cornet or Caroline Garcia as she bids to win her fourth career title.
"I am sorry that I had to withdraw today before my semifinal match," Halep said in a statement. "But unfortunately I woke up this morning with a blocked neck and this is not allowing me to perform to the best of my ability."