Tokyo SF #1: (1) Caroline Wozniacki vs (8) Belinda Bencic
Saturday’s first semi-final at the Toray Pan Pacific Open sees top seed Caroline Wozniacki come up against Swiss rising star Belinda Bencic. Caroline Wozniacki will enter this match desperate for revenge, Bencic has defeated Wozniacki in all three of their matches in 2015. This is an extremely important match for both ladies in their quest to reach the WTA Finals in Singapore, Bencic is currently 11th in the race to Singapore whilst Wozniacki is 13th and simply must win this match.
After a dreadful North American hard court summer, Caroline Wozniacki has made an impressive start to her Asian Swing. The Dane kick-started her week in Tokyo with a comprehensive 6-2 6-2 victory over Croatian qualifier Ana Konjuh. Wozniacki advanced to the semi-finals with an extremely hard-fought 6-2 3-6 6-3 win over Angelique Kerber, the Dane’s first victory over a top 10 opponent since Stuttgart. In one of the highest quality matches of the year, it was Wozniacki who remained a little more consistent, raising her level at the end of the third set to set up a semi-final showdown with Belinda Bencic.
Belinda Bencic continues to impress, getting ever so close to cracking the top 10 for the first time in her career. Bencic waltzed past Yi-Fan Xu 6-0 6-0 in the first round before recording an extremely impressive, hard-fought 6-7 6-3 6-4 victory over Sam Stosur. The 18-year-old advanced to the semi-finals courtesy of a 7-6 6-1 triumph over a wayward Garbine Muguruza. In the first meeting between two of the tours future starts, it was Bencic who was more consistent from the baseline and was able to execute her game much better than Muguruza. Belinda Bencic will be extremely confident heading into Saturday’s semi-final given her recent success against Caroline Wozniacki.
Belinda Bencic holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Wozniacki. Wozniacki thrashed Bencic 6-0 6-0 in Istanbul last year, Bencic has responded remarkably to that defeat by winning the next three matches against the Dane. The most recent encounter between the pair took place last month in Toronto. Bencic picked up a 7-5 7-5 victory on route to winning the biggest title of her career.
This promises to be a fantastic match, it’s very difficult to separate these two. I think Bencic has the slight edge heading into this one, firstly because of her recent success over the Dane and secondly because she is the fresher of the two heading into this one. Wozniacki seems to be carrying an injury at the moment and it will be difficult for her to fully recover from her gruelling quarter-final victory over Kerber.