Sun, Nov 04, 2018 - Page 11 News List

Barty advances to Elite Trophy final

AFP, ZHUHAI, China

Australia’s Ashleigh Barty progressed yesterday to the final of the WTA Elite Trophy in China after overcoming Julia Goerges 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

The ninth seed grew into the semi-final match against Germany’s Goerges, seeded fifth, and dominated the third set to book her place in today’s showdown in Zhuhai.

Goerges, who celebrated her 30th birthday on Friday, dropped two service games in the deciding set as her 22-year-old opponent motored to victory.

Sixth seed Madison Keys pulled out of the tournament in Zhuhai yesterday with a knee injury.

The American was due to play Garbine Muguruza yesterday evening at the Hengqin International Tennis Center in Zhuhai for a place in today’s final.

Keys, 23, is to be replaced by 26-year-old Wang Qiang, who finished second in their round-robin group with Daria Kasatkina.

Caroline Garcia has revealed that she feels under pressure to bring a grand slam trophy back to France, and believes she “can do better” after a difficult season.

Although the 22-year-old spent almost the whole year in the top 10, she slipped down the rankings last month and struggled to kick on from last year when she won the Wuhan and China Opens.

Asked if she feels a weight of expectation from her home country, the world No. 18 told reporters: “There are always these kind of things and it’s been like this for a long time. There’s already some pressure, because they always want you to win.”

Garcia won the doubles tournament at Roland Garros in 2016, and said the singles grand slam in Paris is the one that she feels the most pressure to win.

“They always want you to win the French Open, and obviously it’s something I want to do, but it’s not as easy as saying ‘hello’ to someone,” she said.

Her best grand slam singles performance so far was reaching the last eight on the clay at Roland Garros last year, and she said it is a “great challenge” to go deeper into the tournament.

“I think I can do better, and it’s something I wanted to improve this year. I couldn’t do it, but maybe next year,” she said.

The last French woman to win a grand slam title was Marion Bartoli, the Wimbledon champion in 2013, and before that it was Amelie Mauresmo’s 2013 Australian Open and Wimbledon double.

Garcia, whose season highlight was winning the Tianjin Open in October, said that although her country expects her do well, the French players on the women’s tour do not have to deal with as much pressure as the men.

“Actually, my shoulders are probably way lighter than the men’s, because they haven’t won in 30 years, so I’m kind of glad Marion won five years ago,” she added.

Garcia finished her year with a win at the WTA Elite Trophy in China, but it was not enough to book her a place in the semi-finals.

It has been a “complicated season,” she said after the match, explaining that she struggled with the extra pressures of being in the top 10, particularly mentally.

“There were a lot of ups and downs — not a lot of ups, obviously,” she said.

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