Naomi Osaka recorded a confident 6-4 6-2 victory over defending champion Caroline Wozniacki in the China Open semifinals, beating the fellow former world No.1 for the first time in their three career meetings.
Never before had Osaka won a set against Wozniacki, but today the Japanese steadily progressed through the match, fending off all the seven break points that endangered her service games.
The tight first set went with serve until 4-4, when the fourth-seeded Osaka broke the 16th-seeded Wozniacki. There was no recovery for the Dane, as her opponent lost just two points on her first serve in the entire set.
The 21-year-old Osaka, who was announced as the fifth qualifier for the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen on Friday, continued the momentum in the second set, which seemed to be more straightforward, even though six of seven break points that she faced in this match happened in the second set. The two-time Grand Slam champion Osaka broke Wozniacki in the first and fifth games, marching into her second career Premier Mandatory final.
In the China Open final, Osaka will face top seed Ashleigh Barty, who advanced earlier on Saturday after saving a match point en route to a tough three-set victory over Kiki Bertens. It will be the first meeting between Osaka and Barty since either became a Slam champion and No.1.