Garcia claims first title of 2018 to hit Pliskova's Finals hopes

Caroline Garcia rose to the occasion at the Tianjin Open final, defeating Karolina Pliskova after a nervy performance from the top seed.

Caroline Garcia celebrates in China   -  Getty Images

Karolina Pliskova's WTA Finals hopes were hit by an ultimately comprehensive final defeat to Caroline Garcia at the Tianjin Open on Sunday.

The two top seeds faced off in China but a tight opening set was followed by a dominant second from Garcia as she ran out a 7-6 (9-7), 6-3 winner, ending the tournament without dropping a set.

Pliskova remains well placed in the Race to Singapore, coming into this week eighth in the standings, but this was a missed opportunity to have a chance to officially punch her ticket on Sunday.

The pair was closely matched as the first set reached a tie-break, where Pliskova's repeated errors cost her after an initial mini-break and Garcia seized the lead.

From there, the French star's lead looked insurmountable. Garcia swiftly broke in the second and soared clear at 5-1 before her aggressive approach ceded a little to give Pliskova a glimmer of hope.

There was no way back, though, and Garcia closed out the match for her first title of the year as Pliskova takes her Finals bid to the Kremlin Cup.