Caroline Wozniacki continued her amazing run at the 2017 WTA Finals as she ousted world number three Karolina Pliskova in the semifinals of the prestigious tournament for a spot in the final, having a chance to go for the biggest title of her career against Venus Williams after the American defeated Caroline Garcia in the other semifinal of the night. It will be the Dane’s second final at the year-end Championships having just fallen short in the 2010 edition.
Wozniacki entered the semifinals as the second-ranked player in the Red Group, having gone 2-1. The former world number one strolled past Elina Svitolina and Simona Halep losing just four games in total but shockingly fell to Caroline Garcia 6-0, 3-6, 5-7 yesterday, allowing the Frenchwoman to steal the top spot. The loss could have affected her confidence but Wozniacki came out firing today, taking the win in just under two hours of play.
Nervy start to the match
Wozniacki came out firing, hitting with precise groundstrokes which largely troubled Pliskova throughout the encounter. She ran out to a 0-30 lead in the opening game but a down-the-line backhand winner earned Pliskova her first point of the match before the Czech saved a break point to hold serve in the nervy first game. The Dane also looked shaky on her serve in the early stages, but her aggression helped her to save two break points and got onto the scoreboard.
Pliskova makes the first breakthrough
Both players were playing some top-notch tennis, with Pliskova surprisingly being more cautious with her shots while Wozniacki going for more winners against the hard-hitting Czech. The first four games all went to deuce and featured break points, showing how tight the contest was. Pliskova then had the first comfortable service hold of the day, with her powerful serves being pivotal. The angle on the Czech’s forehands was simply amazing and she was able to grab the first break of serve for a 4-2 lead after Wozniacki sent a backhand into the net.
Wozniacki breaks back and saves set points
A couple of unforced errors then caused Pliskova to get broken straight back as Wozniacki returned on serve, but the Czech remained composed and continued to be aggressive, coming up with four consecutive winners to retrieve the break back and earn the golden opportunity to serve out the set.
However, the nerves seemed to have overwhelmed Pliskova as she committed two consecutive drive volley errors, allowing Wozniacki to break to love. In the longest game of the match, Wozniacki was able to reflect her years of experience as she handled the pressure extremely well, remaining solid under pressure as she fended off three set points in an 18-point game lasting over 10 minutes.
The Dane prevails in a thrilling tiebreak
An exchange of service holds sent the set into a tiebreak to decide its winner, but Wozniacki seemed to have the set under her control when she claimed five straight points to open up a 6-1 lead, earning five set points. Unexpectedly, Pliskova came up with her best tennis and mounted an incredible comeback to level the scores within a blink of an eye.
The Czech then earned another set point of her own with an ace, but Wozniacki saved it with an amazing backhand down-the-line winner. Clutch and lengthy rallies followed but the Dane ultimately prevailed in this tussle after an hour and 21 minutes, sealing the first set 7-6 (9).
Wozniacki overcomes slow start
Overcoming the disappointment of losing the tight first set, Pliskova embarked on her pursuit for the comeback in the best possible way, breaking serve in the first game of the second set. However, there was a visible lack of intensity from the Czech as Wozniacki took advantage to break straight back with the help of four unforced errors by her opponent.
Wozniacki started going on a ruthless run, with all her shots being so solid and accurate. The rhythm she has on her groundstrokes disturbed Pliskova, who could not find an answer to the Dane’s world-class counterpunching tennis. Wozniacki soon jumped out to a 3-1 lead, edging closer than ever to the win. Unexpectedly, Pliskova was able to return on serve and level the scores, adding more unpredictability to this encounter.
The win goes to the Dane
A crucial eighth game saw Pliskova serving down 3-4, but the pressure affected her greatly as her backhands started going all over the place, with nothing working for her. Wozniacki broke to love and all of a sudden, the score was 5-3 in her favor. Serving for the match, Wozniacki overcame the tough resistance from the determined Czech, ultimately closing out the win in a minute under two hours, sealing a place in the final.