TOKYO, Japan - No.3 seed Caroline Wozniacki moved into her seventh final of 2017 with an emphatic 6-2, 6-0 victory in exactly one hour over No.1 seed Garbiñe Muguruza in the semifinals of the Toray Pan Pacific Open.
A two-time champion here in 2010 and 2016, Wozniacki's stellar record in Tokyo also included her only previous victory in a completed match over the Spaniard - a 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 win in the 2014 semifinals, a result the Dane reprised today.
"There are some tournaments where you just feel good and do well almost every year and, for me, this is one of them," said Wozniacki. "I thought I played a good match today."
The tightest stretch of play came in its opening stages and set the tone for the rest of the match as Wozniacki emerged from a brace of two-deuce tussles, saving a game point in both, with a 2-0 lead. From there the 27-year-old, clinical as usual in her stinginess with errors but also injecting aggressive groundstrokes at key moments, was able to break down the World No.1's game with increasing confidence.
Though Muguruza seemed to have found her range on her shots when she hauled back the initial break in the fifth game with a scorching backhand return winner, she was unable to sustain the accuracy necessary to hit through Wozniacki. Indeed, it was the backhand that most frequently let the Spaniard down as she conceded 29 unforced errors to drop the final ten games of the match.
Wozniacki, moving Muguruza from side to side as she hit the corners with pinpoint accuracy, was razor-sharp in taking her opportunities, converting six of seven break points. With the first set under her belt, she began to go for more and more of her shots to maintain control of the scoreboard, and her tally of 16 winners included a stunning pass to break for a 2-0 second set lead.
Though Muguruza's coach, Sam Sumyk, delivered multiple pep talks throughout the match in on-court coaching sessions, they were to no avail as the 23-year-old's mistakes continued to pile up, ultimately delivering the final game to Wozniacki with another profusion of errant backhands.
"In every match you want to start strongly," said Wozniacki. "After a tough match yesterday and knowing Garbiñe was playing really well and aggressively, I was ready for it. I felt good out there, really comfortable."
The result sealed Wozniacki's second career win over a reigning World No.1, having scored her first last month by defeating Karolina Pliskova in the Toronto quarterfinals. In tomorrow's final against the unseeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Wozniacki will be seeking to overturn her run of six final defeats to seize her first title of the season.