SINGAPORE - It took nerves of steel in a see-saw match against the year's best server on the WTA Tour, but Caroline Wozniacki strung enough together to earn a spot in the final of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
The world No. 6 Dane beat Czech Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (11-9), 6-3 on Saturday evening (Oct 28) at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, making a first return to the final of the prestigious season-ender since she finished runner-up in 2010.
The duo were caught up in a long-drawn first set. Wozniacki had been up 6-1 in the tie-breaker, squandering five set points and saving set points herself before she succeeded in claiming the opening set at the sixth time of asking.
The following set was a much more straightforward, with Wozniacki posting a clean set with no unforced errors.
Pliskova, on the other hand, despite making a concerted effort to come into the net often, had 13 break-point opportunities over the course of the match but only converted four of them. Her loss put her out of contention to be the year-end world No. 1, letting Romania's Simona Halep - who did not make the semi-finals - to close out the year as the top-ranked player.
Said Wozniacki: "I was feeling kind of good about myself (while 6-1 up in the first set's tiebreaker). But she started hitting some winners, and it was a roller coaster. I was just happy to get the first set under my belt."
The match was the duo's sixth meeting of the year, with the overall head-to-head now 6-3 in Wozniacki's favour, and 3-3 for the year.
"(Pliskova) is such an aggressive player, she serves big so you need to be aggressive yourself.
"It feels great to be in the final. I've been playing some great tennis this year."
Wozniacki will face Venus Williams on Sunday evening (Oct 29) in the final, after the world No. 5 beat Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia in a three-set duel to win 6-7 (3-7), 6-2, 6-3.
At 37, the American is the oldest finalist in history at the WTA Finals, beating the previous record set by Martina Navratilova in 1992 when she was 36 in her loss in the final to Monica Seles.
Said Williams: “Wow, one more match. Playing another Caroline, it’ll be like deja vu. She’s a great friend and I’m happy for one of us to win it tomorrow.
“Caroline (Garcia) competed so well this tournament.
“It’s hard to produce your best tennis at the end of the year... nothing is easy (here). To be almost standing in the winner’s circle is amazing.”
The singles final will take place not before 7.30pm on Sunday night at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.