TORONTO, Canada - Caroline Wozniacki is the first player into the Rogers Cup final after ending the resurgent Sloane Stephens’ dream run in a solid two sets.
The No.934-ranked Stephens entered the Rogers Cup with a protected ranking after being out over 11 months with a foot injury and subsequent surgery. Playing in just her third tournament back, the American put together a dream run to reach her first Premier 5 semifinal, defeating the likes of Lucie Safarova, Angelique Kerber and Petra Kvitova along the way.
But she ran up against a rock-solid wall in the form of 2010 champion Wozniacki, who needed an hour and 20 minutes to notch the 6-2, 6-3 victory.
“She was playing really well, I have to say,” Wozniacki acknowledged in her post-match press conference. “I think she played very powerful, very aggressive, great angles and stuff.
“I think I was moving very well and retrieving and just trying to stay aggressive when I could. But it was a difficult match. I think it was closer than what the score line showed.”
In her last match, Wozniacki survived a grueling three sets and three rain delays to record her first ever win over a World No.1 against Karolina Pliskova. She used all of that momentum on Saturday against Stephens, playing aggressive tennis from the start and charging ahead to a 3-0 lead, consolidating it with another break for 5-1.
Stephens showed some fight-back late in the set, taking advantage of a brief letdown from Wozniacki - whose backhand started to misfire - to get a break back. But her efforts were undone by too many unforced errors and Wozniacki calmly marched through the first set.
Things got a bit complicated in the second set for the Dane, with Stephens turning around a 1-3 deficit to level the match. But Wozniacki struck again a few games later, and served out the match after a brief rain delay at 5-3.
Through to her sixth final of 2017, Wozniacki awaits the winner between defending champion Simona Halep and No.5 seed Elina Svitolina.
“Both great players and both play very similarly,” Wozniacki said. “You know, it will be a tough match, long rallies. But, I'm going to look forward either way. It's going to be a good one.”