Battling Wozniacki refuses to be blown off course

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The Independent Online

Teenager Caroline Wozniacki defied early jitters and a stiff breeze to march into the final of the Aegon International. The 18-year-old from Denmark, the only seed in the last four, beat Aleksandra Wozniak 3-6 6-4 6-4 at Devonshire Park.

She will face France's Virginie Razzano in the final after she benefited from the retirement of Marion Bartoli in yesterday's first semi-final.

Wozniak had kicked off a bad week for the big names when she thrashed French Open champion and second seed Svetlana Kuznetsova in round one. She was immediately into her stride today and capitalised on two of three break points to take the opening set, punishing Wozniacki's second serve ruthlessly.

The second and third both proved close affairs, but in each Wozniacki, the world No 9, claimed two breaks to Wozniak's one. The teenager sealed victory on her first match point which she forced a wild backhand from Wozniak which flew well wide of the tramlines.

"I really enjoy playing here," Wozniacki said. "It was really difficult (due to the wind), we both struggled a bit but both hung in there."

Today's first semi-final ended prematurely, and in acrimony, as Razzano progressed following the retirement of Bartoli.

Razzano, the world No 25, who defeated top seed Elena Dementieva in the second round, had taken the first set 6-4 after claiming four of the seven breaks of service. She then held to lead 1-0 in the second before Bartoli, a Wimbledon finalist two years ago, pulled out with an apparent muscle strain in her right leg.

Bartoli refused to shake her countrywoman's hand after Razzano recently criticised her fitness record in a newspaper article.