ZHUHAI, China -- No.2 seed CoCo Vandeweghe of the United States put on a powerful display in the semifinals of the Hengqin Life WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai on Saturday, dispatching Australian Ashleigh Barty, 6-3, 6-3.
The American advances to her second final of the year in Zhuhai, after finishing runner-up to Madison Keys at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford over the summer. On Sunday, she will face Julia Goerges of Germany, who earlier dismissed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia.
Vandeweghe, who will crack the Top 10 for the first time in her career in next week's rankings, was untouchable during her first meeting against Barty. She served five aces and won 28 of 32 points on her first serve.
Even when she was not claiming points outright on her serve, her play was nearly impeccable -- 32 winners compared to only nine unforced errors.
"I didn't do anything differently. Maybe just a longer warmup today, but my day was pretty much normal," the American said. "I woke up at noon, stayed in my room all day, played some tennis. That was it. Just another day.
"I think my results through my whole career have always been early exits or I go deep in tournaments. I play better the more I play on the court. I like to compete. I feel more comfortable, more confident with my strokes."
Barty matched Vandeweghe in high quality, with 19 winners and only eight unforced errors. But she was never able to get a foothold in any of Vandeweghe's service games, and had to consistently face the pressure of hefty returns from the American which rarely missed the mark.
Both players started strongly on serve, combining to lose only four points when serving in the first four games. At 2-2, Barty fell into a quick hole, and although she served her way out of four break points, Vandeweghe garnered the crucial break on her fifth opportunity with a stunning backhand winner.
Unfortunately for Barty, Vandeweghe was playing far too well for the Australian to recover from that deficit. The American won her next two service games at love to lead 5-3.
In the next game, Vandeweghe hit a perfect backhand crosscourt winner to reach 0-30, and Barty could not rebound, ceding the set with a forehand unforced error.
It was an expected end to the set, in which Vandeweghe won a momentous 16 straight points on serve. After dropping her first service point of the match, she was completely perfect when she stepped to the line for the remainder of the opening frame.
Any signs that Vandeweghe would let up in the second set were quickly dispelled in the first game, when she recovered from 15-30 with an ace and a perfectly executed serve-and-volley point to hold.
Barty, who was still serving well and cracking forehand winners, often could only watch in dismay, as Vandeweghe's pristine play never wavered.
With Barty serving at 2-3, a huge return by the American set up double break point. Although Barty saved the first with an ace, more big hitting from Vandeweghe on the second forced a forehand error by the Australian, and, once more, Vandeweghe took a commanding 4-2 lead in the set.
A love hold by Vandeweghe put her within reach of victory at 5-2, and in the next game, Barty swiftly slid into a 0-40 hole, giving the second seed three match points. To her credit, Barty stayed solid, staving each of those off - including via an ace on the third - to hold on, forcing Vandeweghe to serve out the match.
But Vandeweghe had not struggled on serve at all during the match, and was not about to start at this juncture. Three big serves led to three poor returns by Barty, giving the American three more match points, and Vandeweghe closed out the semifinal right away after another huge serve was returned long.
The American will look to win her first title of the season in her second final, after finishing runner-up to Madison Keys at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford this summer.
"I don't know what to expect. Every day is a little bit different," Vandeweghe said of the approach to her second final of the season. "I think I'll just keep rolling with the nonsense I have been rolling with this week...and enjoy myself.
"I'm only playing tennis to enjoy myself. I like to have fun with what I do. Hopefully I'll have a good showing tomorrow in the final."