Top seed Wozniacki disposes of title rival Sharapova
Caroline Wozniacki pinned her colours to the US Open mast with a thrilling 6-3 6-4 victory over resurgent Russian Maria Sharapova on the Arthur Ashe court last night.
In a captivating fourth round clash, Sharapova, 23, and Wozniacki, 20, produced some exhilarating tennis in what panned out to be an enthralling match-up in New York.
Former world No1 Sharapova has rekindled her form of old in recent weeks and many had cited her as an outside tip for the Flushing Meadows title. Meanwhile, Wozniacki had dropped just three games in the lead-up to her blockbuster clash against the 2006 champion.
Sharapova, the 14th seed, produced ferocious strokes throughout Monday’s encounter but Wozniacki displayed an invulnerable defensive side to her game as she tenaciously tracked down every ball.
And at the crucial moments, the Russian’s serve let her down; three double faults in the fourth game of the first set allowed world No2 Wozniacki to take an early 3-1 lead. The Dane held her nerve to take the opening set despite a late rally from her opponent.
The hard-hitting Sharapova produced 32 winners compared to Wozniacki’s modest tally of 16. However, it was the Russian’s unforced error count of 36 that was to be her downfall as Wozniacki remained consistent, making just 10.
It proved to be the common theme of the match. The 20-year-old top seed deflected the former world No1’s best efforts and as the pair became entangled in lengthy rallies, Sharapova regularly lost her patience.
At 4-2 in the second set Wozniacki stuttered, albeit momentarily. Sharapova finally managed to seize a break point, but any chance of a comeback was snuffed out by Wozniacki who broke back immediately and claimed victory in the following game as she confidently served out the match.
“I think I’m a really tough player,” said Wozniacki afterwards. “I never give up. Doesn’t matter what the score is. And I think that makes me tough to beat.
“It was a really tough match, Maria is a great player so I knew it wasn’t going to be easy”
Sharapova was quick to congratulate her opponent and paid testament to her current vein of form. She said: “She’s at the top of her game, playing the best tennis of her career.”