12th seed Caroline Wozniacki created a minor upset in the semifinals of the Miami Open as she defeated second seed and Qatar Total Open champion Karolina Pliskova, who defeated the Dane in the final of Doha. Wozniacki managed to overcome the loss of the first set which saw her own three set points, only to win in three sets having just lost two games afterward, taking revenge for her loss in Doha.
Pliskova saves three set points to triumph
Pliskova made a fast start to the match as she managed to get her strong returns in play and troubled Wozniacki early on by hitting her returns deep in the court, leaving Wozniacki having to hit an awkward groundstroke often, paving the way for the Czech to take the offense from then on. This then allowed her to convert her third break point of the opening game, making the first breakthrough of the match and clinching the first service break of the day to get the early lead.
Not showing any early match jitters, Pliskova followed the break with a comfortable service hold to love to open up a 2-0 advantage. Another tough game on Wozniacki’s serve saw her narrow out a service hold as Pliskova managed to get to deuce once again, but this time she was unable to earn a break point opportunity and allowed the former world number one to get onto the scoreboard.
This time it was Wozniacki who managed to get to deuce on Pliskova’s service game, threatening to break serve and return level on the scoreboard. However, the world number three sent in some solid groundstrokes as she held her serve for a 3-1 lead. After a few exchanges of service breaks, it was the Dane who managed to make the next breakthrough as she broke back mainly thanks to Pliskova’s four consecutive unforced errors which proved costly in the end, allowing Wozniacki to return level at 4-4 all of a sudden.
Fending off a break point in the process, Wozniacki managed to consolidate the break as she owned a lead for the first time in the match, being just one game away from winning the first set. Serving to stay in the set at 4-5, Pliskova showed some nerves of steel when she prevailed in the marathon 18-points game, saving a total of three set points along the way as she hit in some strong serves on those nerve-wracking points to save herself from the brink.
Wozniacki’s failure to convert those golden opportunities to close out the set seemed to cost her greatly as she was broken immediately in the next game and allowed Pliskova to regain the lead and have the chance to serve out the set. The Czech then came from 15-30 down to successfully serve out the first set 7-5 after a marathon 63 minutes of play, being just a set away from her first ever final in Miami.
Wozniacki gives perfect reply
Wozniacki suffered a huge scare in the opening game of the second game as she almost lost a 40-0 lead in her service game, but maintained her composure as she fended off the tough challenge from her opponent to barely hold her serve. This gave her the confidence to break serve right in the next game, taking an early 2-0 lead in the second set as she looked poised to clinch the second set and level the match.
The Dane then consolidated the break of serve as Pliskova’s poor run continued, losing her third straight game to allow Wozniacki to have a formidable 3-0 lead in the set. Pliskova then finally got herself onto the scoreboard as she looked to have regained the momentum on her serve, lessening the deficit to two games.
A comeback seemed on the cards as the Czech earned a break point in the next game, having the golden opportunity to break straight back and return level on serve. However, a return from Pliskova was just barely out on the break point, allowing Wozniacki to hold serve and regain a three-game lead.
Wozniacki’s defensive and counter-punching masterclass further proved its ability against hard-hitting players when she broke serve for the second time in the set, placing herself within just one game away from winning the second set. Falling behind 15-40 while serving for the set, Wozniacki played her best tennis to come back and clinch the second set eventually, sending the match into a decider after the short 38 minutes set.
Wozniacki strolls to victory
A marathon game started the final set as Pliskova failed to get over the world-class defense of Wozniacki as her solid groundstrokes were not enough to help her hold her serve, allowing the former world number one to capitalize on her fourth break point in the game as she took an early lead in the decider.
Wozniacki then consolidated the break of serve to extend her lead to two games, looking on course for the victory and a place in the final. Going down 0-30 in her next service game, Pliskova got herself into deep trouble once again as the Dane threatened to take a double break advantage.
Nevertheless, the Czech maintained her composure and finally got onto the scoreboard in the final set, earning the confidence-boosting service hold. The next breakthrough came to Wozniacki, which was certainly expected as she won her 10th of the last 12 games to open up a formidable 4-1 lead, edging closer to victory.
Wozniacki’s run then continued when she held her serve to extend her lead to 5-1, coming from 15-30 down to do so as she became just one game away from the huge win. Pliskova failed to deal with the pressure serving to stay in the match as she eventually fell in three sets after 2 hours and 17 minutes, allowing Wozniacki to use her clinical display to progress to her first ever Miami Open final, winning the 12 of the last 14 games.