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Sabalenka vs Garcia WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming | Sabalenka in pole position to make semis from Orchid Group

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 1 Nov 2018
  • Aryna Sabalenka vs Caroline Garcia is live from Zhuhai on Friday, 2 November from 3:00pm local time/ 7:00am GMT
  • Sabalenka leads 2-0 on head-to-head
Aryna Sabalenka. (Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Aryna Sabalenka is in pole position to win the Orchid Group and qualify for the semifinals of the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai as she takes on Caroline Garcia in the final round-robin match of the group on Friday.

Sabalenka only needs to take a set to reach the last four, but a straight-sets win for Garcia will leave all three group members, Ashleigh Barty inclusive, level on the same number of points, with one win and one loss each, as well as level on set difference. Should that be the case, the group winner would then be decided by the number of games won and lost.

As is so often the case in these scenarios, the mathematics can be all very confusing. Garcia will win the group and proceed to the semi-finals if she beats Sabalenka in straights sets and doesn't concede more than seven games. If she wins in straight sets but loses more than seven games, Barty will win the group, except the score is 7-6 7-6, in which case, Sabalenka advances! All very simple, no?

The fast-rising Sabalenka is looking to prolong a terrific season, during which she has risen from 73rd at the start of the year to stand of the brink of the top ten. She has been playing like a top-ten player this year, as reflected by her eight wins over players ranked in that bracket in 2018. The Belarusian, currently ranked 12th, peaked at No. 11 in October. Sabalenka has picked up titles in New Haven and Wuhan, while she made finals in Lugano and Eastbourne.

The 20-year-old, who first came into prominence during Belarus superb run to the Fed Cup final last year, also reached the semi-finals in Cincinnati, while she got to the quarter finals in Shenzhen, Hobart, s-Hertogenbosch, Beijing and Tianjin.

Making her debut at the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai, Sabalenka took out Ashleigh Barty 6-4 6-4 to take early control of the group. 


This time last year, Caroline Garcia had completed a remarkable surge, charging into the top-ten after pulling off an unprecedented Beijing-Wuhan double, and backing it up with a brilliant semifinal run at the WTA Finals in Singapore.

Caroline Garcia. (Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images)
With points from last year's WTA Finals dropping off, Garcia, who failed to make the Finals in 2018, has fallen to 18th on the rankings, and while a second consecutive top-ten finish is out of reach, she can still finish on a high in Zhuhai, and set herself up nicely for another go next year.

Looking through Garcia's 2018, she hasn't exactly been poor, as she maintained a decent level, but never quite elevated herself to the heights she reached at the back end of last year.

Garcia picked up her only title of the season in Tianjin, her most recent tournament before Zhuhai, while her only other semi-finals were on the clay courts of Stuttgart and Madrid. She reached the quarter finals in ten of her 22 tournaments during the regular season, while she made tidy fourth-round runs at the Australian Open and Roland Garros. Like they say, steady, but unspectacular.

There was nothing steady nor spectacular about her opening match in Zhuhai on Thursday, as she crashed to a tame 6-3 6-4 defeat to Ashleigh Barty, leaving her on the precipice of exiting the competition. Can she save herself by coming up with something spectacular on Friday?

Sabalenka has won their two previous meetings, both coming within the last three months (Cincinnati and Beijing), and both going three sets, although one final set was a lot tighter than the other. Sabalenka rolled through the final set in Beijing 6-0, weeks after she edged out the Frenchwoman, 7-5 in the third in Cincinnati.

You can't say Garcia isn't in form, as she just recently won Tianjin, but momentum certainly appears to be with Sabalenka, who should, at the very least, get the set she needs to move into the semi-finals.

Aryna Sabalenka vs Caroline Garcia is live from Zhuhai on Friday, 2 November from 3:00pm local time/ 7:00am GMT

*Geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify


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Sabalenka vs Garcia WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming | Sabalenka in pole position to make semis from Orchid Group

Aryna Sabalenka takes on Caroline Garcia at the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai on Friday. will Sabalenka get the set she needs to make the last four? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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