By Ros Satar

  • Caroline Wozniacki [12] def. Karolina Pliskova 5-7 6-1 6-1
  • Johanna Konta [10] def. Venus Williams [11] 6-4 7-5
  • Konta v Wozniacki H2H: Konta leads 1-0
MIAMI, USA – Johanna Konta and Caroline Wozniacki will face each other for the Miami Open title after both impressing in their semi-finals.

 

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Caroline Wozniacki Fact File

Age 26 (11 July 1990)
Turned Pro 2005
Weight 139 lbs (63 kg)
Height 5’ 10” (1.77m)
Birth-Place Odense, Denmark
Residence Monte Carlo, Monaco
Plays Right-handed (Two-handed backhand)
Career High (Singles) 1 (11 October 2010)
Career Singles Titles 25

 

Wozniacki’s Path to the Final

  • R1: BYE
  • R2: Varvara Lepchenko 6-1 6-2
  • R3: Sorana Cirstea 6-4 6-2
  • R4: Garbiñe Muguruza [6] 7-6(1) 0-0 RET
  • QF: Lucie Safarova 6-4 6-3
  • SF: Karolina Pliskova [2] 5-7 6-1 6-1

Having already been in pretty commanding form throughout the tournament, Caroline Wozniacki overcame a momentum swinging battle in the first set against No. 2 seed Karolina Pliskova to turn the match on its head with a dominating second and third set to send the Czech packing.

Pliskova has been one of the in-form players since the start of the year, but Wozniacki’s on trajectory this year has been no less impressive this year. After dropping out of the Top 10 and a raft of injuries, Wozniacki is back on the up, making back to back finals in the Middle East, and now finds herself in her third final.

Wozniacki already had an impressive record against the hard-hitting Czech and what impressed was how she sustained her aggressive play to outmanoeuvre Pliskova. The Czech may have improved in her movement over the past year, but this match showed she still had some way to go to match one pf the strongest defenders on the tour. Aided and abetted with Pliskova’s serve and forehand misfiring with increasing regularity, Wozniacki walked all over the Czech and into her first Miami Open final.

 

Johanna Konta Fact File

Age 25 (17 May 1991)
Turned Pro 2005
Weight 154 lbs (70 kg)
Height 5’ 11” (1.80m)
Birth-Place Sydney, Australia
Residence Eastbourne, England
Plays Right-handed (Two-handed backhand)
Career High (Singles) 9 (10 October 2010)
Career Singles Titles 2

 

Konta’s Path to the Final

  • R1: BYE
  • R2: Aliaksandra Sasnovich [Q] 6-2 6-7(5) 6-4
  • R3: Pauline Parmentier 6-4 6-0
  • R4: Lara Arruabarrena 7-5 6-1
  • QF: Simona Halep [3] 3-6 7-6(7) 6-2
  • SF: Venus Williams [11] 6-4 7-5

Johanna Konta advanced to a second Premier Mandatory final after a hard fought straight sets win against home crowd favourite Venus Williams. She took advantage of a slow start by Williams to race out to an early lead, but Williams has been even more impressive here in Miami than her gruelling battles in Indian Wells. She fought back determinedly and matched Konta’s trademark aggressive play with some of her own.

What has been evident this week is Konta’s return to calm, even down to delaying her call for Wim Fissette in her quarter-final until she had the upper-hand after levelling the match. Konta is solid at working things out, not losing her cool and figuring out her solutions on the fly.

She must not only feel she has the measures of legendary champions such as Williams, but that she stands a great shot at going after another big title on Saturday.

 

Britwatch Breakdown – Johanna Konta [10] v Caroline Wozniacki [12] – H2H: Konta leads 1-0

Had their match up been during Wozniacki’s transitioning months back on the tour after injury and during her revival at the back end of 2016, then it could have been passed off as a solid win while the Dane was still finding her feet. But on paper it is actually Wozniacki who has looked to be the most consistent of the pair since the start of the year.

First up it was Konta to strike hardware in Sydney, gaining a more than suitable measure of revenge against Agnieszka Radwanska in the Sydney final, after schooling Konta when they met in the Premier Mandatory final in Beijing. That is not to say that Wozniacki did not start the year badly either – two quarter-finals in the season warm-ups to the Australian Open, but tellingly she came up against Konta defending her semi-final points in the third round in Melbourne.

It was their first meeting, and Konta really dominated Wozniacki, despite joking to reporters (as reported in WTATennis.com) after her match against Williams: “I’m definitely going to be looking forward to playing a lot of balls and a lot of tough points,” she said. “She’s one of the best athletes in the game. She ran a marathon for goodness sake. I’m sure it’ll be a match where I’ll be running for a lot of balls. Hopefully we’ll give a great match for the final.”

Konta can move also and what has impressed is that while her volleys can still be predictable at times, she has looked far more assured at the net. Her drive volleys are part and parcel of her game but she demonstrated some real finesse burning Simona Halep (another great mover around the court) before the Romanian got wise. She next needs to work on disguising those manoeuvres.

Wozniacki’s strength is of course her court coverage. She is one of the fastest around a court, but as she amply demonstrated, she can outmatch anyone with aggressive play but her ability to switch to solid defence is one of the best in the world.

Konta is not exaggerating when she says she is going to be made to run for every ball. Wozniacki had to ruefully admit that Konta on the form she displayed in Melbourne could beat the word’s best on her day. We have yet to see that, but this has the makings of being a great three-set final and a true battle of wills for a first Miami Open crown for one of them.

Prediction: Konta in three sets.

BRITWATCH BREAKDOWN

Johanna Konta v Caroline Wozniacki

H2H: Konta Leads 1-0

Johanna Konta [10] Caroline Wozniacki [12]
Previous Best: QF 2016

YTD W-L: 18-3

Previous Best: SF 2012

YTD W-L: 23-6

  • R1: BYE
  • R2: Aliaksandra Sasnovich [Q] 6-2 6-7(5) 6-4
  • R3: Pauline Parmentier 6-4 6-0
  • R4: Lara Arruabarrena 7-5 6-1
  • QF: Simona Halep [3] 3-6 7-6(7) 6-2
  • SF: Venus Williams [11] 6-4 7-5
  • R1: BYE
  • R2: Varvara Lepchenko 6-1 6-2
  • R3: Sorana Cirstea 6-4 6-2
  • R4: Garbiñe Muguruza [6] 7-6(1) 0-0 RET
  • QF: Lucie Safarova 6-4 6-3
  • SF: Karolina Pliskova [2] 5-7 6-1 6-1
Stadium Court
1pm (6pm BST)

 

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