Caroline Wozniacki, the top women’s seed at the US Open, has a little more work to do before the last Grand Slam of the year starts tomorrow.
The Dane rallied from a break down in the third set to beat Russian Elena Dementieva 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) on Friday to book a spot in the final of the Pilot Pen hard-court tournament.
Wozniacki, the tournament’s two-time defending champion, improved to 12-0 in her three trips to New Haven.
Dementieva looked to be cruising when she broke Wozniacki in her first two service games of the match and again to close out the first set, but Wozniacki responded with a service break of her own to open the second set and won the frame when neither player could hold serve during the final four games.
Dementieva took an early lead in the third set and served for the match at 5-4.
“I just told myself: ‘Keep fighting,’” Wozniacki said. “She still has to win four more points to win the match, so you’re still in there.”
Wozniacki took that game, then went up 6-5, but she couldn’t finish off Dementieva, who fought off three match-points and went up 3-0 in the tiebreaker, before Wozniacki rallied again.
Wozniacki, who won last week in Montreal, insisted she doesn’t feel any pressure as the top seed at the US Open.
“Pressure is when you’re put in a spot and you don’t really feel like you belong there,” she said. “When you really believe that you belong there, that you can do the things you have to do, there’s no pressure. You just go out there and play.”
Before she tackles Flushing Meadows, Wozniacki will take on Russian Nadia Petrova in the final in New Haven.
Petrova is making the most of her last-minute wild-card entry and she reached the final with a three-set win over ailing Maria Kirilenko.
After dropping her serve twice in the first set, Petrova bounced back to beat her fellow Russian 2-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Kirilenko was hindered after the first set by a sore back, which she first felt after lunging for a ball. She took a medical timeout in the second set, but said she couldn’t move as well in the later stages.
“I made a very fast movement and then I start to feel it even more,” she said. “Then I couldn’t even bend at all. Then it went a little bit better when the [trainer] came out, but still I decided to continue ... even if you have a pain, you have to try.”
Kirilenko said she would see a doctor before deciding her status for the US Open.
“I saw she had difficulties moving,” Petrova said. “So that was my first goal, keep her on the run, make her stretch, use my serve as a weapon, try to win as many free shots as possible.”
On the men’s side, Sergiy Stakhovsky reached the final with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Thiemo de Bakker of the Netherlands.
The ninth-seeded Ukrainian took advantage of the only break-point in the first set and he broke de Bakker again in the seventh game of the second set.
“I was really lucky to catch that return,” he said of his first break. “I mean, I guess I just decided where he was serving, so I went for it. It went in. It was a really important point for me. I close out the set with my serve and started fresh from the second.”
Stakhovsky will face Uzbek Denis Istomin in the final.
Istomin defeated Serbia’s Viktor Troicki 7-6 (12/10), 3-6, 6-2.
In the women’s doubles semi-finals, US pairing Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Meghann Shaughnessy defeated Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Peng Shuai of China 7-5, 6-1 to advance to the final.