Rain halts Wozniacki-Stephens semi

American Sloane Stephens will serve for the first set when she resumes her rain-interrupted ASB Classic semi-final against Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki in Auckland.

Stephens, the world No.30, was up 5-2 when play was abandoned on Friday night, with the match to resume at 10.30am on Saturday.

On a day of wet weather, the first semi-final started on time, and unseeded German Julia Goerges went on to beat Austrian qualifier Tamira Paszek 6-4 6-2.

But just as that match finished, the rain came back, causing a delay of one hour 45 minutes.

Wozniacki, the world No.17, was the favourite heading in against Stephens, having cruised through her last two matches at the cost of just three games.

She had also not lost a set to her 22-year-old opponent in the five previous meetings between the pair.

But Stephens began in dominant fashion, hitting hard and flat, and her cross-court forehand was particularly profitable.

She twice broke Wozniacki’s serve, only for the rain to force the players off the court.

After another half-hour wait for the weather to clear, officials called it a day.

Goerges, the world No.50, took 66 minutes to get past Paszek.

It put her in her first Auckland final and her sixth final in total, the last being in 2012, and she is in contention to claim her third career title.

“It feels very good to be in a final after such a long time,” Goerges said.

“Overall, I think it was a good match from my side. I was trying to go really aggressive for my shots and really take it in my hands.”

Paszek, a former top-30 player who began the year at No.172, was playing her seventh match in seven days, including two long three-setters.

She faded in the second set, during which she needed treatment on her lower back.

Both players had served strongly in the opening set – Goerges went on to send down a match total of seven aces – before it came to an abrupt end.

Paszek, like Goerges a previous Auckland semi-finalist, had lost just three points on serve before being broken to love to drop the set.

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