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Wozniacki sinks American duo to reach Auckland final

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Pulling double duty as the ASB Classic on Saturday thanks to a rain-ravaged week, top seed Caroline Wozniacki navigated her way past a pair of young Americans to reach her second career final in New Zealand.

The top seed was first stretched to the limit in the morning against teenage wildcard Sofia Kenin, dropping the first set before rallying for a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory in a match that was briefly interrupted by drizzle in the decider, before recording a 6-4, 6-4 win to end the breakout week of qualifier Sachia Vickery in the semifinals.

Top seed Caroline Wozniacki posted a pair of contrasting victories to set up a final at the ASB Classic against the in-form Julia Goerges.
"I'm exhausted, if I'm being honest," Wozniacki said after the match. "It's a tough start to the season - you kind of feel it after the first match...in the back, and the legs, and then we didn't play for a couple of days, and I said, 'Oh, it's nice.'

"Then coming out here and playing three sets this morning, and then two sets when we ran a lot -- I'm not 17 anymore, I can feel it for sure!"

Against the 19-year-old Kenin, the former World No.1 struggled in part to deal with aggressive hitting from the World No.108, as she hit 12 unforced errors in the first set and was broken twice.

However, Wozniacki worked her way into the quarterfinal, breaking Kenin twice to build a 4-0 lead and hardly looked back en route to tying the match at one set apiece.

In the decider, the Dane stayed in front as she served to began, and neither player was able to create a break point chance over the first six games.

With the match finely poised, it was the American who first created a chance which would've put her in front, but Wozniacki saved the lone opportunity in the seventh game, and clinched the nearly two-and-a-half hour victory with a break in the last game.

In the semifinal, Wozniacki sprinted out to a 5-1 lead in the opening set, losing just two points on serve, but needed all her experience to pocket a one-set lead.

The Dane saw the qualifier get the set back on serve, as three games went by without a set point in her favor, but the top seed finally clinched the first set on her third opportunity in the 10th game after the World No.122 netted a backhand after a marathon rally.

In the second set, Wozniacki held serve in a titanic third game, in which she saved a pair of break points and the pair played to deuce six times. She stayed in front for the duration of the match until the final game, earning the last break to help see her way through to the final.

"I started very well, served well and played very aggressive and took time away from her, and then I stood back maybe half a step behind the baseline, and all of a sudden, she was getting to a lot of balls," Wozniacki said of Vickery.

"She was counterpunching very well and we had some crazy rallies. I'd thought I'd won a ball already three times - it kept coming back, and all of a sudden I was on defense. I just had to keep grinding and try to run her down."

After a fast 3-0 start, @CaroWozniacki fights off a comeback attempt from Vickery.

Wozniacki's victories set up a final between the top two seeds, as No.2 seed Julia Goerges was impressive in straight-set defeats of Polona Hercog and Hsieh Su-wei to extend her winning streak to a staggering 13 straight matches dating back to October.

Sunday's championship match will be a rematch of the 2017 quarterfinal between the two players, which was won by Goerges, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, from a set and a break down.

Both the Dane and the German are former runner-ups in Auckland, each looking to win their first title at the event. Wozniacki was runner-up to Venus Williams in 2015, while Goerges lost to Sloane Stephens in 2016.

"I definitely need a good massage tonight and some great food to just try and be as fresh as possible for tomorrow," the Dane said. "It would be amazing [to win]...obviously, being here in another final means a lot to me, and I would love to make it a step further and win this tournament."


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