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By Chris Oddo | Tuesday, September 2, 2014

 
Caroline Wozniacki, US Open

Caroline Wozniacki reached her first Grand Slam semifinal in three years with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over a befuddled Sara Errani on Tuesday night in New York.

Photo Source: AP/Charles Krupa

The saying about Grand Slams—that they are marathons, not sprints—seems to suit Caroline Wozniacki just fine this year in New York. The 10th-seeded Dane took timeout from her New York City Marathon training to complete a 6-0, 6-1 drubbing over Italy’s Sara Errani on Tuesday night, pushing the former world No. 1 into her first Grand Slam semifinal in three years.

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Wozniacki’s remarkable turnaround, fueled by personal turmoil and the decision to begin training for her first marathon this November, has her seemingly in the best shape of her life and looking like a contender to win her first Grand Slam title this weekend in New York.


On Tuesday Wozniacki turned in a virtuoso performance, mixing her well-known patience, consistency and defensive acumen with new, more recent upgrades to her serve and groundstrokes which have allowed her to go on the attack more than she did when she spent a year-plus as the world’s top-ranked player.

Her defeated opponent, Sara Errani, could only rave.

“She doesn't let you play. She never miss,” said Errani after the match. One of the fittest athletes on the WTA Tour, the Italian has been known to wear many an opponent down over the course of her career, but on this night, Errani says that Wozniacki was just too difficult to deal with.

“She's very good physically,” Errani said. “Point by point she find the feeling, and without missing. She's not in a hurry to make winner.”

Wozniacki may not have been in a hurry but she did rip 26 winners against only 10 unforced errors while winning 76 percent of her return points and converting on six of nine break point opportunities.

Those are not the type of stats that the defense-oriented Wozniacki has generated in the past, but today’s Wozniacki is more confident and more confidently aggressive.

“I knew that I had to be aggressive but not too aggressive,” Wozniacki said. “Kind of find a balance between finding the opening, and then go for my shots whenever I had the balls for it.”

In the windy conditions that can wreak havoc at the US Open, Wozniacki adapted quickly, perhaps drawing upon her previous experiences in New York and her comfort level with cavernous Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“I have played so well here in the past,” said Wozniacki, who reached the semifinals three consecutive times in New York from 2009 to 2011. “It's such an amazing atmosphere in there. I think it's such a great place to be. I have played in some very windy conditions here, but, you know, I know how to adapt.”

Wozniacki will next face China’s Shuai Peng in the semifinals. After dropping her first career match with Peng, Wozniacki has won the last five.

 

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