Looking for her 19th win in Charleston, Caroline Wozniacki's wish was granted. On Saturday, she inched closer to her second Volvo Car Open title after taking out Petra Martic, 6-3, 6-4, to advance to the final.
In the previous five matches they played, Martic hadn't won a single set, but was hoping to change things after upsetting No. 6-seeded Belinda Bencic in the quarterfinals on Friday. Today, it was evident from the beginning that both players were ready to fight as they set the tone early. Wozniacki's game plan was to put some pressure on Martic's service games, but the Croatian stood her ground, coming up with great answers.
In the fifth game of the opening set, Martic fended off two break points but Wozniacki was able to scramble for a break, and eventually closed out the set with her sixth ace—she had seven overall. The second set wasn't that much different as both players continued to play solid tennis. The No. 5 seed got an opening in the third game and seized the opportunity. Despite giving the break back, she kept the pressure on and soon claimed the match.
.@CaroWozniacki is back in the #VolvoCarOpen final and looking tough to beat.— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) April 6, 2019
She sits down with @Steve_Weissman and @Chanda_Rubin to discuss the important stuff, like what David Lee and new coach @Schiavone_Fra talk about at dinner ???? pic.twitter.com/IGpbsmUB6l
"I think I played really well," Wozniacki commented after her match. "I tried to play aggressive when she tried to come in. I made some great passing shots. I served really well on the big points. I lost my serve there at the end of the second set, which was not ideal, But you know, she was serving well, so I really had to keep my focus all the time."
Even though the No. 53-ranked Martic lost a tough one today, she should be happy with her performance this week after a slow start of the season. On Monday, she will return to the Top 40 after falling outside the Top 50.
“It was my best match so far,” Martic said after her quarterfinals win against Bencic on Friday. “I think these three wins prior to this match gave me quite some confidence. Even yesterday that I managed to pull this match against [Jessica] Pegula was really a tough one, and I played pretty good level already yesterday. So I just brought it with me on court today, and I’m really happy about it.”
Unlike Belinda Bencic who was troubled by Martic's kick serve, the Dane read the serve pretty well and had no issues handling the 28-year-old Croatian's variety. For a player whose bread and butter is playing defense tennis, today Wozniacki played calculated high-risk aggressive tennis with a hint of control. If she plays like this tomorrow, she'll most likely win her second trophy on the green clay. It's worth noting that she added 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone to her team this week.
Caroline Wozniacki practicing with Francesca Schiavone here @VolvoCarOpen. Said they hit together in Miami and Caro invited her up to Charleston to get some tactical tips on clay.— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) April 1, 2019
Wozniacki, who is into her first final of the season, will play 2015 finalist Madison Keys for the trophy. The 24-year-old American took out Monica Puig in the other semifinal.
"Madison has a big serve and looks to run around that forehand a lot," Wozniacki said when asked about the matchup.
She's 2-0 against Keys in their head-to-head.