Wozniacki beats Stephens to reach Rogers Cup women's tennis final
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TORONTO — After a marathon quarter-final win a day earlier, Caroline Wozniacki was at her efficient best Saturday at the Rogers Cup.
She completed a 6-2, 6-3 victory over American Sloane Stephens in a tidy 83 minutes at Aviva Centre.
"I think I was moving very well and retrieving and just trying to stay aggressive when I could," Wozniacki said. "But it was a difficult match. And I think it was closer than what the scoreline showed."
Wozniacki, the No. 6 seed from Denmark, will play fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina in Sunday's final after the Ukrainian defeated defending champion and second seed Simona Halep of Romania 6-1, 6-1 in the other semifinal.
Svitolina broke Halep six times to set up a final with Wozniacki. Svitolina has won both previous matchups between the two.
Wet weather hampered the proceedings at the WTA Tour Premier 5 event for a second straight day. Quarter-final matches had to be played in the morning and the afternoon semifinal was briefly delayed in the second set.
Wozniacki knocked off top-ranked Karolina Pliskova on Friday just over five hours after they started warmups. They had to wait out four rain delays and spent nearly three hours on court.
On Saturday, Wozniacki broke Stephens in the opening game and took the first set in just half an hour.
Stephens, who's trying to regain her form after missing almost a year due to a foot injury, showed flashes of her impressive power game but mistakes proved costly. She had 41 unforced errors to 11 for Wozniacki.
A former top-15 player, Stephens returned to action last month at Wimbledon. Her ranking has plummeted to No. 934 due to her extended absence.
Her first victory of the season came earlier this week and she beat 14th-seeded Petra Kvitova en route to the semifinals.
"I didn't win, but I think this whole week was a very big personal victory," Stephens said. "So I didn't win the tournament, but in my eyes I did."
Wozniacki, a former world No. 1, is 0-5 in final appearances this season. The 27-year-old won the Rogers Cup in 2010 at Montreal, one of 25 titles over her impressive career.
"I don't really think too much about others when I'm out there on court, I just think about myself and what I need to do," Wozniacki said. "And every time I step out on the court, I believe I can win.
"That's really the way I think."
Stephens did not have high expectations for this summer and was quite pleased to reach the final four.
"For this to be my third tournament back and playing like this, I mean I really couldn't ask for anything more," she said. "So I'm super happy with that."
The 24-year-old fell to 1-6 against Wozniacki over her career. Wozniacki leads all WTA players with 46 victories in main-draw matches this season.
Earlier in the day, Halep beat Caroline Garcia of France 6-4, 6-2 while Svitolina topped fourth-seeded Garbine Muguruza of Spain 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
In doubles quarter-final play, Ottawa's Gabriela Dabrowski and Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko dropped a 7-5, 6-3 decision to the third-seeded Czech duo of Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova.
Safarova and Strycova were scheduled to play again in the late evening match against eighth-seeded Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany and Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic.
Top-seeded Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina were to face Ukraine's Nadiia Kichenok and Australia's Anastasia Rodionova in the other doubles semifinal.
The tournament's singles champion will earn US$501,975 of the $2.74-million purse. The finalist will take home $243,920.
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