Garcia stays alive in Singapore with emotional win over Svitolina
Caroline Garcia fought back from the brink of elimination to win another almighty battle with Elina Svitolina which leaves both players still in with a chance of joining Caroline Wozniacki in the last four at the WTA Finals.
Garcia had to win to have any chance of qualifying from the Red Group along with Wozniacki, who beat world number one Simona Halep earlier on Wednesday, but the eighth seed looked to be heading out with one match still to play when she trailed 5-3 in the final set.
Svitolina was beaten by Garcia in a marathon China Open quarter-final last month after the Ukrainian won the first set and history repeated itself in a tense match in Singapore, which the spirited Frenchwoman won 6-7 (7-9) 6-3 7-5.
An emotional Garcia was reduced to tears during the second set after calling for her father and coach, Louis Paul, for some words of inspiration and fought back to force a deciding set before getting herself out of a hole to stay in the hunt for a semi-final spot.
Wozniacki has qualified along with Karolina Pliskova but the Dane is not guaranteed to finish top ahead of her final round-robin match against Garcia, who remains in contention along with Svitolina and Halep in a group which will be decided on Friday.
The nerves were evident as the first two games went against serve, but an aggressive Garcia broke for a second time to lead 3-2 before Svitolina's coach, Andrew Bettles, urged the fourth seed to stay positive and believe in herself following an uncertain start.
Svitolina broke back to force a tie-break and saved two set points after coming from 4-0 down as the pressure appeared to get to Garcia, who found herself a set down after one of far too many unforced errors.
It was advantage Svitolina when she broke for a 2-1 lead in the second, but words of wisdom from her father appeared to do the trick for a drained looking Garcia as she turned the tide.
The world number eight won four games in a row to surge into a 5-2 lead and served out the set after saving three break points before digging deep again after losing the first two games in the final set of a topsy-turvy encounter.
It appeared a sprightlier Svitolina was about to end Garcia's hopes of going through when she broke for the fifth time in the match, but there was a final swing in momentum as Garcia won four matches on the spin to pull off a crucial win which was sealed when her opponent netted a forehand at full stretch.
Garcia  bt Svitolina  6-7 [7-9] 6-3 7-5
Garcia – 58/31
Svitolina – 33/22
Garcia – 8/3
Svitolina – 9/5
BREAK POINTS WON
Garcia – 7/16
Svitolina – 5/11
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Garcia – 70
Svitolina – 67
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Garcia – 70/36
Svitolina – 61/38
Garcia – 126
Svitolina – 111