EASTBOURNE, England - No.6 seed Caroline Wozniacki came back from a set down to end Simona Halep’s bid for the WTA World No.1 ranking and reach the semifinals at the Aegon International Eastbourne.
With Angelique Kerber advancing to the quarterfinals earlier in the day, Halep needed to reach the Eastbourne final to have a shot at moving to No.1. But her hopes were cut short as Wozniacki completed the 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 comeback after an hour and 50 minutes.
“It was tough because I was ahead in the first set, kind of had her in the defense and running, then all of a sudden every time I put her in a corner she managed to find a way out of it,” Wozniacki explained in her post-match interview with Annabel Croft.
“She came out with some amazing shots and I lost the first set, and she had the momentum in the second. But I kept grinding and kept digging in there and somehow managed to turn it around.”
Halep took a while to find her groove in the semifinal on Thursday. Both players were playing their second match of the day after two days of rain delays wreaked havoc on the Eastbourne schedule.
Wozniacki took advantage of the lull to go ahead a double break lead, keeping Halep contained to surge up 5-2. But that’s when the Romanian roared to life, tracking down every ball and switching up her tactics in favor of more aggressive tennis. She shut out Wozniacki for eight games straight to turn around the opening set and start the third with a 3-0 double break lead.
The Dane took a page out of Halep’s book in the second set, coming back from the brink herself and battling off four break points to reel off the next six of seven games and put the pair back on level terms. She carried her momentum to break three more times, finally wrapping up the match after a topsy-turvy hour and 53 minutes on court.
With the victory Wozniacki has booked the first spot into the Eastbourne semifinals, and her first semifinal of the grass court season. Up next she’ll take on either Barbora Strycova or British wildcard Heather Watson.