Danish star Caroline Wozniacki is feeling upbeat about her build-up to the Australian Open after another dominant performance to start the season.
The world No.17 swept into the semi-finals of the Auckland Classic by crushing Romania’s Alexandra Dulgheru 6-1 6-0 on Thursday night.
Wozniacki, the third seed and highest ranked player left in the tournament, set the tone by winning the first eight points of the match.
Producing some brilliant shot-making and making few unforced errors, she wrapped up the contest in just 52 minutes.
The 25-year-old former world No.1 said she would take a boost out of the week, no matter how it now ended for her.
“I just know I can play at a really high level and that gives me a lot confidence going into the Australian Open,” she said.
“For me, it’s always been important to get a few matches to start the year and feel like I’m on a roll.”
Wozniacki was runner-up in Auckland 12 months ago to American Venus Williams, this year’s top seed but who was a first-round casualty.
The Dane was rusty early on in her opening-round win over Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic, but lifted in beating American Christina McHale 6-0 6-2 in round two.
In the semi-finals on Friday, she will meet another American in fifth seed Sloane Stephens, against whom she has a 5-0 record.
“I’ve played really well against her in the past but it’s a new year, it’s a new tournament and it’s never been easy against her,” Wozniacki said.
Stephens booked her berth in the last four by ending the run of British qualifier Naomi Broady, winning 7-6 (8-6) 6-3.
Broady, the first-round conqueror of Serbian No.2 seed Ana Ivanovic, had her chances in both sets, but couldn’t convert.
“She’s a tough opponent, she has a really big serve,” the 22-year-old Stephens said.
“I was happy to get the win, but it was definitely a tricky match.”
The other semi-final will between unseeded German Julia Goerges and Austrian qualifier Tamira Paszek.
Goerges got through by downing unseeded Japanese opponent Nao Hibino 6-7 (3-7) 6-2 6-4.
Goerges is making her seventh successive appearance in the Auckland tournament, having reached the semi-finals once before, in 2011, when she lost to eventual champion Greta Arn of Hungary.
Paszek, also a previous semi-finalist, won a marathon battle against fellow qualifier Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium, prevailing 6-4 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 after two hours and 51 minutes.