October 31st, 2014
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Grit. It is what Caroline Wozniacki has been known for in her career and that is what she has shown in Istanbul, Turkey this week to reach the final of the Istanbul Cup.
Wozniacki needed three sets against both Karin Knapp in the second round and then against Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals to set up a clash with WTA rising star Kristina Mladenovic in the semi finals. Wozniacki had a much easier time of things there, looking cool and composed as she saw off her French opponent in straight sets.
Wozniacki’s game plan against Mladenovic was simply to sit back and soak up all the pressure that she could on the baseline and returning to the corners to make her opponent run. It is exactly what she will need to do against Vinci, because of the Italian’s strong forehand and solid serving. The two have played just three times before, with Vinci holding a 2-1 head to head lead. Their most recent meeting was on clay in Madrid this year, but with Istanbul on the hard surface, it pushes favouritism back to Wozniacki a bit.
This will be Wozniacki’s 35th career WTA Final, winning 21 of the first 34. She is looking to keep a record of winning at least one WTA title each year since 2008 going. She has been picking up
her form though with a semi final appearance in Eastbourne ahead of a last sixteen finish at Wimbledon. The former World Number one has finally converted a semi final berth into a final appearance this season, missing out on the previous three occasions this season that she has been in the final four of a tournament.
She will run into a tough opponent in Vinci though, who has been running hot lately. The Italian went to the final of Bucharest last week, stopped there by Simona Halep, and she will have been delighted with her semi final victory in Turkey over Ana Konjuh. The two met in Vinci’s first match of the 2014 season, and just a few days after her 16th birthday, Croatian Konjuh stunned Vinci in the first round.
With an unimpressive first half of the season from Vinci, outside of the top twenty for Wimbledon and with a 7-17 win loss record heading into Istanbul, Vinci will be underdog in what will be her 12th WTA Tour final. The Italian does though have a fantastic strike rate in WTA finals though, going 9-2 in the first eleven. But the battling qualities that Wozniacki have shown this week, may just tip the balance to the Dane.