By Chris Oddo | Sunday, August 31, 2014
Caroline Wozniacki ended a streak of ten majors without a quartefinal by downing Maria Sharapova on Day 7.
Photo Source: Getty
It took Caroline Wozniacki ten majors to finally reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal as a fresh-faced 19-year-old at the 2009 US Open. Five years later, New York is Wozniacki’s proving ground again.
Sharapova says that Wozniacki is using the same formula that helped her became a world No. 1, but she’s doing it with some more pop and sizzle. “I think she's better at what she's done really well in her career. I think she's moving extremely well; she's fit,” Sharapova said. “She's always been fit, but there is a little bit more on her defense shots. It's not just balls up in the air. She's doing a little bit more with them.”
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The 24-year-old ended a run of ten majors without a quarterfinal by powering past Maria Sharapova on Arthur Ashe Stadium, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2. With the loss, Sharapova becomes the latest top-eight seed to fall in a women’s draw that has devolved into chaos.
Only one of the top six seeds remains after the first week (Serena Williams), which provides hope for young, rising players, and those, like Wozniacki, who are on the rebound.
“It means so much to me,” Wozniacki said. “It’s been a bit up and down this year for me, to win today against a champion like Maria—it’s an unbelievable feeling.”
The former world No. 1 has regained her form on the North American hard courts this season. She ended a seven-match losing streak against the WTA’s top ten in Cincinnati and has won three of four against the tour’s elite.
Sharapova, who was seeking her second US Open title, had a difficult time dealing with the inspired defense and counter punching of Wozniacki. “She's a great retriever, especially in these types of conditions,” the Russian said. “I just felt like I maybe went for a little too much.”
In the third set she may have done too little on the point of the match, which saw Wozniacki bring the crowd to its feet when she took off on a full sprint to track down a floated Sharapova volley to prolong the point.
Not expecting the ball to come back, Sharapova was slow to react on the next ball, dumping it into the net to hand Wozniacki the break lead that she would never relinquish.
Wozniacki says she started feeling better about her game this summer at Eastbourne, just prior to Wimbledon. Today, she says, was the culmination of a lot of hard work and reps on the court. “I'm serving well, I'm running well, I'm staying aggressive when I have to, and I make the right decisions at the right moment,” she said. “And I enjoy playing.”
Wozniacki will get to continue enjoying herself in the quarterfinals when she faces off against Sara Errani. Errani ended the dream run of 32-year-old qualifier Mirjana Lucic-Baroni with a 6-3, 2-6, 6-0 triumph on Sunday. The Italian has now won all six round of 16 matches she has played at majors.
Wozniacki owns a 2-1 lifetime edge against Errani, but they have not met since 2010.