EASTBOURNE, Great Britain - After dropping the first set and facing match point in the second, Caroline Wozniacki completed an epic turnaround to defeat Angelique Kerber and return to the Nature Valley International for the third time in her career.
The top seeded Dane came into the match against Kerber trailing 6-8 in their head-to-head record - including an Eastbourne semifinal in 2014 that went Kerber’s way after a grueling three-set battle.
But this time, Wozniacki flipped the script to edge past the German and notch a 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 victory after two hours and 17 minutes on court.
“That was very tough,” Wozniacki admitted in her on-court interview. “I was down match point and I think I got a little lucky hitting both lines, and then I somehow managed to get through.
“I always have tough matches against Angie, and I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy one today.”
Kerber started out the match as the aggressor, dictating in the rallies and leaving Wozniacki on the back foot throughout the opening set. She grabbed a double break to reel off the last five games in a row to wrap up the set in under half an hour.
Wozniacki finally righted the ship in the second set, earning her first break to lead Kerber 4-1. But Kerber, who owns the most main draw wins on grass from 2012 to 2018 with 45, came roaring back to level the match at 4-4. The pair traded breaks again - with Wozniacki having to save a match point in an epic 24-shot rally - and marched into the tiebreaker.
Saving match point in such emphatic fashion seemed to energize the Dane, who found a new gear in the tiebreak to zoom ahead 4-0. She went on to dodge three break points in the final set as she grabbed the lone break to make her way into the final at Eastbourne.
On paper, Kerber’s numbers might sound like the winner’s stats: she hit 42 winners and just 19 unforced errors against Wozniacki’s 34 and 24, and she won 101 points in total, six more than Wozniacki. But Wozniacki was more solid in the big moments, converting three of her four break chances while Kerber converted four out of 12 and let one match point slip by. The Dane’s serve also bailed her out of trouble - she served 71% of first serves and fired five aces across three sets.
Wozniacki will take on Aryna Sabalenka in the final - it’ll be the first meeting between the pair after the 20-year-old Belarusian defeated Agnieszka Radwanska in three sets earlier in the day.