Two former world No. 1s will meet in a semi-final clash at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Friday afternoon, as Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki prepare to meet for the fifth time on the professional tour. The Dane is yet to defeat Williams, who leads the head-to-head series with a perfect 4-0.
Following her fantastic upset of Serbian No. 2 Ana Ivanovic, Venus Williams continued her campaign in Dubai, defeating Italy’s Flavia Pennetta to reach the final four at the event. While she began down 3-1 to Pennetta, she quickly reeled off seven games to build a 6-3, 2-0 lead and eventually getting a game away from victory at 6-3 5-3. Leading 5-3 in the second set, Venus still faced resistence from the Italian, who was unwilling to go down without a fight. She would catch up at 5-5, but Venus would ultimately win five consecutive points to close out the victory.
“I felt good,” she commented. “It was an adjustment playing someone like her. Her game is different than Ivanovic. I had to be more patient; the points are going to be longer. We have to be a little bit more measured. I think in the beginning of the match I wasn’t really in that mode, but as the match went on, then I started to kind of self-correct myself a little bit.”
Williams has been victorious in her last two appearances in Dubai, lifting the title in 2009 and in 2010, when she defeated Victoria Azarenka. She will be looking to maintain her record in this tournament against her upcoming opponent, Caroline Wozniacki.
World No. 11 Caroline Wozniacki reached the final four in Dubai after defeating Sorana Cirstea in straight sets. The Danish No. 1 cruised past Cirstea, who had upset both Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani en route to the quarter-finals, 6-1, 6-2 in 62 minutes.
“Venus is a great, great player,” Wozniacki said. “I remember growing up in the juniors, I would say, ‘Oh, this girl has a good serve.’ My dad would be like, ‘What? No, it’s not Venus or Serena on the other side. Come on, no one has good serves on the junior tour.’ Then I made it to the WTA tour and I was playing against Venus for the first time, and I’m like, ‘Okay, dad, give me the tactics now, what am I supposed to do on that return?’ And he just goes, ‘Oh well, I don’t know. Suit yourself out there.’
Williams has beaten Wozniacki in all four of their previous meetings, in straight sets too, yet while that may be the case, they haven’t played in almost six years, which was when Wozniacki had just broken into the Top 50. This will likely be a far different encounter than their previous ones, with the Dane likely proving to be a tough adversary for the American.
Prediction: Venus Williams in Three Sets