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Wozniacki sweeps into Classic semis

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/01/2016

  Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki. © AP Images Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.

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 ASB Classic by crushing Romania's Alexandra Dulgheru 6-1 6-0 on Thursday night.

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark plays a forehand in her singles final match against Venus Williams. © Getty Images Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark plays a forehand in her singles final match against Venus Williams.

Wozniacki, the third seed and highest ranked player left in the Auckland event, 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.

"I started off strongly and played aggressively, came to the net a few times and served well," she said.

"It was a good performance. I was really excited about it."

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."

Caroline Wozniacki © Hannah Peters/Getty Images Caroline Wozniacki

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.

She 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.

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