TOKYO • Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki crushed new world No. 1 Garbine Muguruza 6-2, 6-0 yesterday to advance to the Pan Pacific Open final, as the Dane remained on course for a third title at the Tokyo tennis tournament.
The third seed rallied from a set down to win her previous two matches, but she wasted no time seizing control of her semi-final against Wimbledon champion Muguruza.
The 27-year-old Dane, a former world No. 1 herself, broke the top-seeded Spaniard's opening service game and repeated the feat twice more to cruise through the first set.
A stunned Muguruza, who had not lost a set in the previous rounds, was unable to gain any momentum and was shut out for the remainder of the one-hour long match.
"I thought I played a good match today and stayed aggressive and served well," Wozniacki said, noting that playing strong opponents in her previous matches had helped toughen her up.
"They played very aggressive and went for their chance. So it was very difficult and today I just managed to start strong," added Wozniacki, who will contest her seventh final of the season after losing her previous six.
Muguruza, 23, who was chasing her first title since attaining the top ranking this month, said she was "very disappointed" but would not dwell on the loss and instead focus on upcoming tournaments.
"Today maybe my best tennis wasn't there. She played good and I'm not going to think a lot about this," she said. "That's it."
In today's final, Wozniacki will face Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who earlier withstood a furious rally to beat Angelique Kerber 6-0, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4.
The match appeared headed for a blowout after Pavlyuchenkova, 26 and seeking her third title this year, took the first eight games against the former world No. 1.
However, Kerber dug in and broke Pavlyuchenkova's serve in the third game of the second set before the 29-year-old German forced a tie-breaker and stole the second set.
A rattled Pavlyuchenkova dropped the first three games of the final set but regained her composure to win six of the final seven and notch the victory.
"It was really a tough match today, another three setter," the Russian said. "Angelique is a former No. 1 so you never expect an easy match with her. She's such a great fighter."
Kerber said she struggled to find her feet at the start of the match.
"I tried to turn it around and I won the second set. So in the end, it was still a good match" the German said.
Wozniacki leads Pavlyuchenkova 5-1 in their meetings, although they have not faced each other since 2012.
PAN PACIFIC OPEN
Final: StarHub Ch203, 11am