• US Open

Wozniacki returns to US Open final as Peng retires

Michael Beattie at Flushing Meadows
September 5, 2014
Caroline Wozniacki was put through her paces against Peng Shuai before the world No.39 succumbed to suspected cramp © AP

Caroline Wozniacki is through to the second US Open final of her career, five years on from from the first, after Peng Shuai retired while trailing 7-6(1) 4-3.

The No.10 seed, who stunned Maria Sharapova en route to the final four, will face Serena Williams in Sunday's final after outlasting the world No.39 in sweltering conditions on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Peng, playing in her first grand slam singles semi-final, was on the verge of levelling up in the second set before grabbing her left thigh before a break point, prompting an off-court medical assessment and a 10-minute delay in the match.

"It's very difficult," Wozniacki said of watching her opponent succumb to the heat. "You're out here and you want to battle finish it off properly. It was really hot out on court, its just unfortunate."

It didn't take long for both players to settle into their rhythm on another sweltering afternoon on Arthur Ashe, trading blows from the baseline in a string of lengthy rallies, and trading breaks twice.

Wozniacki, twice behind in the opening set, hit back instantly from 3-4 and 5-6 down before running away with the tiebreak and repeated the trick early in the second as Peng again failed to consolidate a 2-0 lead.

From there Wozniacki motored into a 4-2 lead but Peng was on the verge of breaking back when, without warning, the 28-year-old suffered a severe cramp in her left leg at 4-3.

Unable to stand, Peng was helped from the court in tears for an off-court medical assessment at 30-40. A full 10 minutes passed before Wozniacki saved the break point, and two more, but Peng was brought to her knees by the pain after a fifth point and was forced to retire.

Wozniacki, who received a medical time-out of her own, was thrilled to be back in a grand slam final, her second following a 7-5 6-3 defeat by Kim Clijsters in New York in 2009.

"It's incredible, I have goose bumps right now," said Wozniacki, who was looking forward to scouting the second semi-final. "I'll probably go to have an ice bath, watch them play and then chill."

Peng Shuai left the court in a wheelchair after retiring against Caroline Wozniacki © AP
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