Chinese No. 1 Wang Qiang crashed out of her home tournament here on Saturday in a straight-set loss to world No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki: 6-1, 6-3.
Wang, who had been helped by a slew of unforced errors from her opponent in the quarterfinal against Arnya Sabalenka, found herself coughing them out at an even more alarming pace today.
From the outset, it was clear that Wang planned to deploy the same down-the-line shooting from the backhand side that worked wonders against Sabalenka, but tonight she found herself pushing it a bit too hard. Her shots in that direction kept hitting just the wrong side of the baseline, giving Wozniacki the easy holds early on that allowed her to establish a commanding lead.
Wang committed 21 unforced errors (including 15 in the opening five games alone) to only as many winners on the way to dropping the first set.
Wang tried to change things up at her opening service game of the second, shooting cross court shots from her forehand, but her efforts could not stop Wozniacki from breaking with a consistent returning effort that showed off her ability to stay in long points and patiently wait for opportunities.
Wang finally started coming to the surface as the second set progressed, getting her first break of the match with a beautiful crosscourt winner to go 2-all, and then holding serve to love in order to pull ahead for the first time in the match.
But Wang was still unable to keep pace with the Dane, who replied with a hold to love of her own to level the score out at 3-all. Wozniacki would go on to break two more times on the way to sealing the victory in one hour, 24 minutes.
Wang, who helped her opponent along the way with 41 unforced errors on the night, said that fatigue was a major factor in her defeat.
"Physically speaking, especially after the match yesterday, I really felt exhausted," Wang said. "I couldn't run as I wanted. I was really struggling with my movement today.
Wozniacki, the champion here eight years ago in 2010, commended Wang for her recent run of form in her on-court interview after the match.
"She has been playing very well," the Dane said. "She's been winning a lot of matches lately, so I knew it was going to be a tough match."
Wozniacki will face Latvian world No. 20 Anastasija Sevastova in tomorrow's final.