BEIJING, China -- No.2 seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark had a quick day at the office in the China Open semifinals on Saturday, dispatching the top-ranked Chinese player, Wang Qiang, 6-1, 6-3, to book her place in the final in Beijing.
"I stayed very calm and collected and just focused," Wozniacki told the media during her post-match press conference. "I kind of knew what my game plan was, then just went out there and just tried to do the best that I could. It worked out for me today."
World No.2 Wozniacki, the reigning Australian Open victor, was the only former Beijing champion to reach the final four this year, and the 2010 titlist brought out her most fearsome form against Wang, using her exceptional movement and divine depth of shot to move past the World No.28 in one hour and 22 minutes.
Wang had beaten Wozniacki in their first meeting for her first career Top 10 win in 2013, but Wozniacki has now claimed all four subsequent meetings since then -- including three victories at the China Open within the last four years.
This year in Beijing, former World No.1 Wozniacki broke Wang five times on eight break points, while the Dane only dropped serve once. Wang also had 41 unforced errors, more than double of Wozniacki's 16.
"I think I felt better this week in general body-wise," Wozniacki continued. "Just mentally I've been feeling much better. I think I've upped my game, just played better and better for every match. I found my rhythm. Very happy with my performance this week."
28-year-old Wozniacki will meet Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova in Sunday's final. Recent US Open semi-finalist Sevastova continued her excellent end-of-season form as she reached the biggest final of her career by dispatching US Open champion Naomi Osaka in straight sets in the day's first semifinal. Wozniacki has won all four of her previous meetings with Sevastova.
"[Sevastova is] definitely a tricky opponent," Wozniacki stated. "She mixes up the pace. She uses the angles. She uses the spin and the slice. So it will be a match where I have to stay steady, I have to stay focused, I have to stay disciplined, go for my shots when I have the opportunity."
Wozniacki picked up a crucial game early, as she maneuvered to a break in Wang’s first service game of the match on her fourth break point, after the top-ranked Chinese player shot a backhand unforced error into the net. A subsequent quick hold past an error-prone Wang set Wozniacki up with a 3-0 lead to start the encounter.
Serving at 3-1, Wozniacki needed to save three break points, but with increased depth on her groundstrokes, she extricated herself from that predicament. It was smooth sailing for the Dane after that juncture, claiming an insurance break at love to lead 5-1, and closing out the set in the next game on her second set point after a Wang rally backhand flew long.
Wozniacki went up a quick break to start the second set as well, and once again claimed a tough consolidating hold, using strong serving to repel two break points en route to 2-0. But Wang kept fighting, and converted her first break point of the match in seven tries to level the set at 2-2, after a Wozniacki rally backhand went wide.
A love hold for 3-2 gave Wang the lead in a set for the very first time, but Wozniacki held at love for 3-3 with a drop shot. From there, Wozniacki increased her variety of shot, and was quickly rewarded when she used another drop shot and a backhand crosscourt pass to move to triple break point in the next game. The No.2 seed then broke Wang at love for 4-3 after the Chinese player double faulted.
Wang stopped an 11-point run by Wozniacki in the next game, drawing to deuce from 40-0, but a Wozniacki volley winner eventually clinched the 5-3 lead. The Danish star polished off the victory by garnering another break of service in the following game to ease into the championship match.