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Wozniacki vs Wang tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Second seed Wozniacki to end the historic Beijing run of Wang

Hannah Wilks in WTA Tour 5 Oct 2018
  • Caroline Wozniacki takes on Wang Qiang in the semifinals of the China Open
  • Wozniacki vs Wang is live from Beijing on Saturday at 7.30pm local/12.30pm BST
Caroline Wozniacki (NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)

World no. 2 Caroline Wozniacki seems to have found form again – can she end the run of Wang Qiang, who is trying to become the first Chinese player to make the China Open final, in Saturday’s semifinals?

Second seed Caroline Wozniacki goes for her fourth straight win against home hope Wang Qiang in Saturday’s China Open semifinals as Wozniacki tries to get back to the Beijing final for the first time since 2010. 

It’s been eight years since Wozniacki won the title at the Premier Mandatory-level China Open, beating Vera Zvonareva in the final. Wozniacki was just a teenager then but she was already ranked world no. 1; eight years later, she’s the world no. 2 but a Grand Slam champion after claiming her maiden major at the Australian Open in January, and no doubt she would prefer things that way around. 

Wozniacki celebrates victory in Beijing (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
Wozniacki is trying to reach her fourth final of 2018 at the China Open after having finished runner-up to Julia Goerges in Auckland to start the season, and won the Australian Open in January and Eastbourne in June. The Dane has gone through a subdued spell of form of late – since winning Eastbourne, she went 3-6 through Wimbledon, Montreal, Cincinnati, the US Open, Tokyo (where she was defending the title) and Wuhan, where she lost her second match to qualifier Monica Puig. 

But with her WTA Finals Singapore title defense rapidly approaching – and having secured a place among the ‘elite eight’ at the season-ending championship this week, thanks to reaching the quarterfinals while other results broke her way – Wozniacki has picked a perfect time to find form at the final Premier Mandatory of the season. She has yet to drop a set in four matches in Beijing, beating Belinda Bencic, Petra Martic, Anett Kontaveit and finally Katerina Siniakova to make the semifinals.

I thought Wozniacki really raised her game against Kontaveit, serving much better than she has been in recent weeks and playing with a lot more vim and aggression, and she continued that trend with what was a stellar performance against Siniakova in Friday’s quarterfinals. Siniakova has been on brilliant form of late, making the quarterfinals of both Wuhan and Beijing as a qualifier, but she completely ran out of steam on Friday after so many matches played over the past fortnight, struggling to keep pace with Wozniacki in lengthy rallies and forced to try to shorten the points and play first-strike tennis – a fairly disastrous strategy that led to 28 unforced errors off the Czech’s racquet. But Wozniacki simply never gave her the opportunity to find the tiniest toehold in the match. She was unbelievably clean off the ground, making just seven unforced errors in the match, while limiting Siniakova’s winners to an insufficient handful, and most significantly, perhaps, she served brilliantly, losing just ten points on serve throughout the match. 

Wozniacki, as I say, has found some form at the perfect time with Singapore looming, and she will be very difficult to beat in Beijing now – an intimidating prospect for her semifinal opponent Wang Qiang.

Wang, however, seems to be afraid of just about nothing right now as the 26-year-old player enjoys the best form of her life. Champion at the WTA International events in Nanchang and Guangzhou in 2018, Wang also successfully defended her Asian Games gold medal, and made the fourth round of Indian Wells in March. But it’s the past few weeks that she’s really blossomed, first making the semifinals of Hiroshima, then putting together a great run to make the semifinals of the Premier-5 Wuhan Open last week, beating Maria Sakkari, Karolina Pliskova, Daria Gavrilova and Monica Puig.

Forced to retire against Kontaveit due to a hip injury, Wang recovered sufficiently (with the aid of the first-round bye always granted to Wuhan semifinalists) to play Beijing, where she has put together another brilliant run to reach the semifinals. With the home crowds cheering her on, Wang has beaten three top-20 players – Jelena Ostapenko, Karolina Pliskova and Aryna Sabalenka – to make the final four in Beijing, something last accomplished by a Chinese player when the great Li Na did it in 2012.

Wang’s win over Sabalenka was undoubtedly the most impressive as the 20-year-old Belarusian is undoubtedly the hottest player in tennis right now (well, Naomi Osaka fans might disagree, but it’s a judgement call) after winning two of her last four events in New Haven and Wuhan. Sabalenka came into the match on an eight-match winning streak and roared to an immediate 3-0 lead on Wang, who was initially stunned by her power and explosiveness.

‘When [Sabalenka] was leading 3-0, I was like, “Wow, that's impressive,”’ Wang said afterwards. ‘She's incredible. Every shot full of power. She can just kill you if I play with less quality. At the very beginning, I really didn't know what to do.’

Wang Qiang celebrates victory in Beijing (Photo by Di Yin/Getty Images)
Unable to match Sabalenka power for power, Wang leveraged her two biggest weapons – her superb movement around the court, and her variety – to start reeling in the Belarusian. Soaking up the pace from Sabalenka where she could and keeping great depth on the ball to move the Wuhan champion around, Wang also mixed up her serving brilliantly to keep Sabalenka from teeing off on the returns, and went for broke on winners where she could. She also competed superbly with her back against the wall: When what she thought was an ace on set point was judged by the umpire to necessitate a replayed point instead, Wang coolly delivered an immense service winner to lead 7-5. The two kept pace throughout the second set until 5-5, when a couple of forehand errors from Sabalenka saw Wang break. Sabalenka threatened to break right back in the next game, but Wang produced an absolutely sensational backhand winner down the line on the run to erase break point and she wrapped up a historic win shortly afterwards, 7-5, 7-5.

It’s a huge career milestone for Wang to achieve on home soil and it will have made her the toast of Beijing, but she has little time to enjoy it – not with the somewhat daunting prospect of facing Wozniacki in Saturday’s semifinals.

‘[Wozniacki] can run, she's a good baseliner,’ Wang said. ‘I think we have very similar styles. It will be a very tough match. She will never lose a point easily, so I have to do my best to fight for each point. I'm very proud of myself. Whatever happens in the next round, I will do my best.’

Wang actually did beat Wozniacki in their very first match back in Kuala Lumpur in 2013 – but since then, Wozniacki has won all three that they have played, including their most recent encounter, in the first round of Beijing 12 months ago. Wang is playing her absolute best tennis right now, and some of the points she produced against Sabalenka were astonishing – but a winner against Sabalenka is not a winner against Wozniacki. Wang is going to have to play a lot of tremendously long points, and with so much recent tennis on her legs (not to mention an injured hip) I think she will struggle physically in the face of Wozniacki’s tremendous defense and determination. The Dane’s serving was particularly impressive in the quarterfinals, and if she produces the same level, it seems to me that a return to the China Open final beckons for the second seed. 

Wozniacki vs Wang China Open semifinal tennis is live from Beijing on Saturday at 7.30pm local/12.30pm BST

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Wozniacki vs Wang tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Second seed Wozniacki to end the historic Beijing run of Wang

Caroline Wozniacki vs Wang Qiang live streaming, preview and predictions for the China Open semifinal match on Saturday 6 October 2018: Wang is playing the best tennis of her career but is she physically a match for the back-in-form Wozniacki?

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