Garcia wins Tianjin Open for first title of 2018

Caroline Garcia’s Tianjin Open victory was the sixth title of her career. (AFP pic)

BEIJING: Caroline Garcia won her first title of the year as the French player defeated Karolína Plíšková to edge a nervy Tianjin Open final on Sunday.

The 16th-ranked Garcia battled through a narrow first set before streaking away in the second to beat the Czech top seed 7-6 (9/7), 6-3.

The 24-year-old Garcia, seeded second in Tianjin, enjoyed a breakthrough 2017, winning back-to-back titles in Wuhan and Beijing en route to qualifying for the season-ending WTA Finals.

But she has struggled in comparison this year and her China Open defence in Beijing came to a meek end in the last 16, losing the deciding set 6-0 to Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

The Tianjin title is the sixth of Garcia’s career.