Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki lost in the semifinals of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Friday, her game undone by mistakes in a 7-6 (3), 7-5 defeat to Julia Goerges.
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Goerges will play for the title Saturday against Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic 6-2, 2-6, 6-0 in the first semifinal.
Wozniacki led 4-2 in the second set before Goerges regained control to close the match.
”Made way too many unforced errors, and Julia took advantage of that,” Wozniacki said.
Wozniacki, a Dane once ranked No. 1 and seeded third, struggled with her serve while Goerges never let her find her rhythm.
”I felt I had all the opportunities in the world today and didn’t take advantage of them. If you don’t take your chances, there is no way to win,” Wozniacki said. ”It’s easy to say I should have done this and could have done that. But, you know, as well for Julia she took her chances. If I came with a weak shot she was there straight away and she punished me.”
Goerges, an unseeded German, now has a 3-2 head-to-head record against Wozniacki.
”It’s never easy playing her,” Goerges said. ”It’s always a lot of balls, a lot of rallies. We played over two hours for two sets.”
Goerges downed Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia, Casey Dellacqua of Australia and Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia in the previous rounds. Dellacqua replaced top-ranked Victoria Azarenka, who pulled out of the tournament with an ankle injury Wednesday before she was to open against Goerges.
”You never expect being in the final when you have seen the draw before,” Goerges said. ”I mean, it started with a tough first round, expecting another big match in the second round, which unfortunately didn’t happen. But, well, it’s nice to be in the final with so many great players in the draw.”
Radwanska and Goerges last met in Melbourne last month, with Radwanska winning 6-1, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.
”Well, it’s going to be a tough one again,” Goerges said, referring to Saturday’s final. ”I mean, she killed me in Australia. Well, tomorrow is a new day, new match, and starts from zero again.”
The fifth-seeded Radwanska jumped to a 4-1 lead in the first set before winning it in 33 minutes. The Pole faltered in the second when the eighth-seeded Jankovic broke twice, but then regrouped and didn’t lose another game.
Radwanska regained her confidence by breaking early in the third set.
”Actually, she just start to play much better in the second set. I was really in trouble,” Radwanska said. ”But in the third set, I was just trying to be focused on my game and just fight until the end.”