BEIJING, China - Eight years after winning her first title at the event, Caroline Wozniacki is champion again at the China Open.
The No.2 seed claimed her third trophy of the season in Sunday's final at the Premier Mandatory event in Beijing over Anastasija Sevastova, 6-3, 6-3.
The win secures Wozniacki her 30th career WTA singles title, with 22 of those triumphs coming on hard courts - including her first Beijing title back in 2010, by which she rose to World No.1 for the first time.
"Last time was different. I was 20 years old. I became No. 1 in the world here for the first time. They didn't have this stadium yet. It was the other stadium that I played on. A lot has happened since then," Wozniacki reflected after the match.
"I think I just really appreciate still being here, playing well, being able to win these titles. It really means a lot to me.
"I didn't feel great going into the tournament, to be honest. I think after the second match I started feeling like I was hitting the ball well and I could see the ball really well. By the third match, I thought I played really great tennis. Then I started believing that, you know, I'm really hitting my form, playing myself into shape."
— WTA (@WTA) October 7, 2018
Wozniacki won four of the last five games of the opening set to put herself ahead of the World No.20, but needed to hold off the Latvian's effort to restore parity in the second set.
After breaking Sevastova twice in her first three service games to build a 6-3, 4-1 lead, Wozniacki lost serve for the first time, and ultimately needed to save three break points in a crucial eighth game which would've seen the US Open semifinalist level at 4-4.
"I think she played solid in the beginning. I had chances in the second set. I think the second set should have been closer. Maybe I had even chances to win it," Sevastova said.
"But she played solid throughout. She didn't give me any presents. It was tough. Maybe I was not consistent finishing the points sometimes. That was a deal, making more mistakes than necessary."
Sevastova's inconsistency cost her a chance to win her biggest career title, as she accumulated 35 unforced errors over the course of the match and converted on just one of eight break points.
The Latvian made 21 of those errors - Wozniacki's total for the entire match - in the second set.
"I just at one point was like, 'You know what, just try to make her move, try and do something, keep the margins slightly bigger, then wait for your chance,'" Wozniacki said.
"She's a really tricky opponent. At some point if you don't feel your absolute best, she can really make you doubt your shots. She doesn't give you two balls with the same pace. That's what makes it tricky."
— WTA (@WTA) October 7, 2018
The Australian Open champion did not drop a set across five matches in Beijing this week, and becomes the second player after Naomi Osaka to win both a Grand Slam and a Premier Mandatory event this season.
Up next, she will look to defend her title amog the elite eight at the upcoming BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
"I feel like I'm playing well. I think it's obviously very difficult in Singapore. It's going to be the top players. You have to play extremely well," she said.
"This week definitely gives me a lot of confidence. I feel like I'm playing the way I want to be playing right now."