A tireless Caroline Wozniacki stormed into the final of the season-finale in Singapore with a straight-sets victory over Karolina Pliskova, ending the Czech’s dreams of finishing world number one.
The world number six prevailed in a rollercoaster match 7-6 (11/9), 6-3 in one hour and 57 minutes to reach the decider of the WTA Finals for the first time since 2010.
Wozniacki will play American veteran Venus Williams or in-form Caroline Garcia in Sunday’s final. She rebounded back to top form after a tough three-set loss to Garcia on Friday night.
Wozniacki said she kept “fighting” through the marathon 82-minute first set.
“It went back and forth,” she told reporters after the match. “It was very important to win the first set. I think that broke her a little bit. I think it was important for both of us to get that first one.”
Pliskova said she would not stew over missing out on the top ranking. “I’m absolutely fine with that,” she said. “This is the last thing that I’m thinking about now.
“I improved from last year, which was my goal.”
Long rallies, with both in-form players slugging from the baseline, highlighted a grinding start. There was little separating the pair with holds of serving hard to come by.
There were four straight breaks in the first set and Wozniacki held off three set points in the 10th game.
The Dane blew a 6-1 lead in the tiebreak, losing six straight points, but eventually claimed the first set.
Wozniacki seemingly had a stranglehold on the match with an early break in the second set only for Pliskova to storm back. But she had a decisive break in the eighth game and then served it out to book her spot in the final.
Pliskova needed to lift the trophy on Sunday to overtake world number one Simona Halep in the rankings.
The 25-year-old had been hoping to regain the top ranking after being crowned world number one in July.