The sixth-ranked Caroline Garcia will square off against the seventh-ranked Aryna Sabalenka in the championship round of the 2022 WTA Finals on Monday.

Caroline Garcia (Twitter)

Caroline Garcia

It’s been a dream of a resurgence for Caroline Garcia and she is one win away from bagging her fourth title this year. The Frenchwoman will be playing her first WTA Finals championship match in just her second appearance at the competition.

Garcia began her campaign with a comprehensive win against Coco Gauff. The former won the match in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 to gain confidence after being ousted early in her last three tournaments coming into the WTA Finals. Garcia was outplayed by world No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the following match. The Polish sensation won 6-3, 6-2 in what was a strictly one-sided affair. In a crucial game, Garcia returned from a set down to defeat Daria Kasatkina 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-5). The 29-year-old advanced to the semis to take on Maria Sakkari. Garcia hit 21 winners and 6 aces during her convincing 6-3, 6-2 win in one hour and 15 minutes. She gained a decisive break in the first set for a 4-2 lead and closed out the set with a love game, then powered to a 4-0 lead in the second set. The crowd at the Dickies Arena in Fort Worth was witness to a comprehensive performance from the confident Garcia.

Aryna Sabalenka

The Belarusian could not progress beyond the group stage last year. Many thought she wouldn’t make the cut this time given her mid-season struggles. However, Sabalenka stands on the cusp of winning her first title in 2022. This will be only her third appearance in the final of a tournament this year. She had been bettered by Iga Swiatek and Ekaterina Alexandrova in the Stuttgart Open final and the Libema Open final respectively.

Aryna Sabalenka powers on 1
Aryna Sabalenka celebrates winning her second round ladies’ singles match against Katie Boulter on centre court on day three of Wimbledon at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. Picture date: Wednesday June 30, 2021.

Sabalenka began her campaign with a hard-fought win against world No. 2 Ons Jabeur. After dropping the first set, Sabalenka came back strongly to win the match 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-5. In the following match, Sakkari made quick work of Sabalenka and defeated her in straight sets 6-2, 6-4. The 24-year-old went on to defeat Jessica Pegula in straight sets 6-3, 7-5 to book her ticket to the semis. Sabalenka went up against the red-hot Iga Swiatek in the semis. The former managed to break Swiatek on three occasions in the first set and won it 6-1. However, Swiatek made a strong comeback and won the second set 6-2. Sabalenka proved to be too decisive in the final set and it helped her oust the pre-tournament favorite with a 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 win. This loss ended Swiatek’s 15-match winning streak against top 10 players. Sabalenka fired 23 winners and a dozen aces. She committed only 19 unforced errors compared to 26 from Swiatek.

Head-to-Head and Prediction

The two players will have a decent amount of knowledge about each other’s strengths and weaknesses as they have faced each other on four occasions so far. The head-to-head scoreline intriguing stands at 2-2 as of now and it will be interesting to find out who takes the lead. Sabalenka won the first two encounters against Garcia but the Frenchwoman went on to win the last couple of meetings. Garcia defeated Sabalenka in their most recent encounter in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open in three sets 6-2, 4-6, 6-1.

Prediction: Caroline Garcia to win in three sets.

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