Wozniacki Disappointed But Defiant After Open Loss

Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki reacts after a point against Russia’s Maria Sharapova during their women’s singles match on day five of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 18, 2019. DAVID GRAY / AFP

 

A bitterly disappointed Caroline Wozniacki said she was leaving Melbourne Park with her head held high Friday, despite arch-rival Maria Sharapova ending her dream of defending the Australian Open title.

Sharapova upset her in a three-set thriller to reach the last 16 at Dane’s expense 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

World number three Wozniacki spent more than a decade chasing her maiden Grand Slam and said it was tough to accept she was now out of the running to retain the trophy.

“I’m a competitor, I love to win, I hate to lose — I hate losing more than I love winning,” she said.

But the 28-year-old refused to beat herself up about the loss, saying she had left everything on the court in her third round clash against the Russian.

“Some days you lose,” she said. “As long as you give it your all, as long as I fought for every point and was really trying to do everything in my power to win, I can’t really blame myself.

“Of course, I’m disappointed that I’m not through to the fourth round… I did all I could and just came up short.”

Wozniacki refused to blame the loss on the rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis she revealed during the off season, which sometimes leaves her so exhausted it is hard to move.

She said that was not the case when facing Sharapova and she felt fine on court.

The former world number one also dismissed suggestions that the pressure of entering the tournament as defending champion had weighed on her, insisting she had enjoyed the experience.

“I actually didn’t find it hard at all. I find it kind of pleasurable. It was nice and exciting,” she said.

“It’s a luxury for me to have achieved winning a slam and being number one and winning a lot of other tournaments.”

While Wozniacki was philosophical about the loss, it was clear she has little time for Sharapova, with whom she exchanged barbs after the Russian returned from a drugs ban in 2017.

“Our terms are the same as they have always been,” she said.

“She doesn’t really talk to anybody and just has her team, has her own thing. And that’s that.”

AFP

Aggressive Champion Wozniacki Storms Into Open Third Round

Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki hits a return against Sweden’s Johanna Larsson during their women’s singles match on day three of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 16, 2019. Paul Crock / AFP

 

Aggressive defending champion Caroline Wozniacki powered into the Australian Open third round Wednesday with a confidence-boosting romp over Sweden’s Johanna Larsson.

The third seeded Dane snuffed out a late rally from the world number 77 to win 6-1, 6-3 and continue her bid to become the first woman to defend the Australian title since Victoria Azarenka in 2013.

Wozniacki moved freely, showing no sign of rheumatoid arthritis that has threatened to derail her career, with the win potentially setting up a glamour third round clash with Russia’s Maria Sharapova, who plays later.

“I thought I started pretty well, started aggressively, but she started making less errors and I was just trying to stay consistent,” the 28-year-old said.

Wozniacki came out of the blocks quickly, leaving Larsson reeling as she conceded only two points on the way to a 3-0 lead.

The Swede regrouped from the early onslaught but Wozniacki continued to dictate terms and showed no signs of fatigue as she moved Larsson around the court during long rallies.

She wrapped up the first set in 27 minutes, pouncing on Larsson’s popgun serve and coping easily when the Swede tried to put her under pressure by attacking the net, making 95 percent of her returns.

Wozniacki’s intensity eased slightly in the second set and there was a minor wobble late in the match when Larsson threatened a break.

“She started making less errors, playing it deep, coming into the net and threw my timing off a little bit,” she said.

“I just tried to stay as aggressive as I could be until the and I think I served well when I had to.”

Wozniacki said she felt no additional pressure coming into the tournament as defending champion and was enjoying her campaign after two straight sets wins in the opening rounds.

“It feels amazing. I felt at home straight away when I got here,” she said.

AFP

Wozniacki Upbeat Ahead Of Aussie Open Defence

Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki hits a shot during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 13, 2019. DAVID GRAY / AFP

 

An upbeat Caroline Wozniacki said she was relishing returning to the Australian Open as defending champion Sunday and dismissed concerns health problems were affecting her game.

The Dane achieved a career milestone at Melbourne Park to claim her maiden Grand Slam last year but also revealed she was suffering the debilitating auto-immune condition rheumatoid arthritis.

Wozniacki, 28, insisted there was no extra pressure returning Down Under as the title holder, saying she was treating her upcoming campaign as “a nice, fun challenge”.

“I felt comfortable straightaway when I hit balls on that court. It was just a good feeling,” she said of her return to Rod Laver Arena, the scene of last year’s three-set triumph over world number one Simona Halep.

“Then, you see your photos all over the place, which is cool. So it’s definitely great to be back.”

Wozniacki seeded third at this year’s tournament, said she was carefully managing her arthritis, a condition which sometimes leaves her so exhausted she can barely move her arms.

“For me, it’s just all the time making sure I get good massaging, good treatments, ice baths, stretching, do everything even more thoroughly than maybe in the past,” she said.

She added that she had not changed her playing style and had learned to recognise symptoms of arthritis to avoid flare-ups.

“I think especially as an athlete, you’re even more aware of it. You know your body even better,” she said.

“It’s kind of hard to put into words, but I can definitely tell the difference whether it’s just soreness from training or soreness from that (arthritis).”

She said the pre-season routine was unchanged, aside from some extra gym work to keep in shape before training began in earnest.

After such a rollercoaster 2018, Wozniacki said she needed “to leave the racquet behind for a while” during the off-season, recharging her batteries in the Maldives and the Virgin Islands.

The avid Liverpool fan also visited the less sunny climes of Anfield to see her beloved team in action, indulging in the local fare after cheering Jurgen Klopp’s men on to victory.

“They have great burgers right outside. There’s a huge line outside one of them… they had fries, all sorts of stuff,” she said.

“I was like, ‘we have to try it while we’re here’. It was really, really good.”

Wozniacki begins her tournament on Monday against Alison van Uytvanck of Belgium, ranked 51st in the world, a player she described as “tricky” and aggressive.

“I have to go in and play aggressive myself, get a lot of returns back, serve well, make her move,” she said.

AFP

Wozniacki Wins 30th Title With China Open Victory

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark hits a return during her women’s final match against Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing on October 7, 2018.
NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP

 

Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki won her 30th WTA singles title as she beat Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 6-3 in the China Open final on Sunday.

The Danish world number two was impressive all week in Beijing, never dropping a set and rarely looking troubled, sealing her spot in the WTA Finals Singapore in the process.

The 28-year-old Wozniacki, who won the China Open in 2010, was once more imperious against the 20th-ranked Sevastova, who briefly retired from tennis in May 2013 with an injury.

Wozniacki, whose form has been patchy in the second half of the year, was ruthless on her serve and wrapped up the first set with an overhead smash to underline her superiority.

Top seed Juan Martin del Potro will be a strong favourite when he faces unseeded Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili in the men’s final later Sunday.

AFP

US Open Second Seed Wozniacki Toppled By Tsurenko

Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine (L) shakes hands with Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark (R) after defeating her during their 2018 US Open Women’s Singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on August 30, 2018. EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ / AFP

 

Lesia Tsurenko beat Caroline Wozniacki at her own game Thursday, shocking the world number two 6-4, 6-2 in the second round of the US Open.

Wozniacki, seeded second and seeking a second Grand Slam title to go with the Australian Open crown she won in January, followed world number one Simona Halep out of the last major of the year, leaving third-seeded defending champion Sloane Stephens as the top player remaining in the women’s draw.

“She was playing smarter than me,” Wozniacki said of Tsurenko, the world number 36 who made the fourth round in New York in 2016.

“She played the game that I was supposed to be playing,” Wozniacki added.

“She got a lot of balls back. She played with the angles. She waited for the short ball. When the short ball came, she played aggressively.”

Wozniacki, playing on the Louis Armstrong Stadium newly opened this year, said the court was a bit slower than the Arthur Ashe Stadium court where she beat Samantha Stosur in the first round.

“It’s a beautiful court,” she said of Armstrong, where Halep lost her opener on Monday and two-time Grand Slam winner Garbine Muguruza exited on Wednesday.

“I guess Wimbledon used to have a graveyard court,” she added of the All England Club’s old Court Two, once known as the Graveyard of Champions.

“Maybe that is going to be the new graveyard court — I think it’s a little too early to tell.”

Tsurenko’s pre-match preparations were hurried thanks to New York traffic that had her arriving late at the National Tennis Center, leaving her little time to check out the new court.

It didn’t show as she executed her planned strategy to perfection.

“That was the game plan, to play consistent, to play patient, to choose the good ball to attack and maybe to go for a volley or just to play a winner,” she said. “It worked today. I was really brave I think today.”

The only possible concern for Tsurenko is a sore forearm that troubled her on her serve, something she’ll seek treatment for before a third-round meeting with Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic.

Siniakova saved a match point on the way to a 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/4) victory over Australian Ajla Tomljanovic.

Despite another Grand Slam disappointment — on the heels of a second-round exit at Wimbledon, Wozniacki said her Australian Open triumph makes 2018 a successful season no matter what else it has in store for her.

“I’m always going to say it’s a great season because I won my first major,” said the Dane.

“I’ve won so many tournaments throughout my career, but I’d never won a Grand Slam. I think regardless of what happens in the last few tournaments of the year, it’s still going to be a great year because I won in Australia. It’s something that nobody can ever take away from me.”

AFP

Wozniacki Targets Second Grand Slam Title

Wozniacki Targets Second Grand Slam Title
(Files) Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki reacts after a point against Belgium’s Elise Mertens during their women’s singles semi-finals match of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 25, 2018. SAEED KHAN / AFP

 

Reigning Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki says she believes she can go “all the way” at next month’s French Open, but is wary of a possible early clash with the returning Serena Williams.

The Dane edged out Simona Halep in a thrilling final at Melbourne Park in January to finally claim her maiden Grand Slam title, but is confident that a second isn’t far away.

“I’m excited for the challenge and I definitely believe I can go all the way, it’s not going to be easy, but I believe in myself,” Wozniacki told AFP in Monaco.

“I’m playing so well and when I play my best tennis I’m really hard to beat.”

Wozniacki returned to the top of the world rankings with victory in Australia, but has since relinquished the number one spot to Halep.

She said that she was glad to no longer face questions about having been number one without winning a Grand Slam title.

Despite Halep being ranked the best player in the world, Wozniacki feels as though she is now seen as the player to beat.

“I don’t think it makes much of a difference whether I’m one or two, because I won in Australia and they know I’m the one with the last Grand Slam under my belt, so you definitely always have a target on your back,” she added at a sponsor’s event for tech start-up Lympo.

“But I love that I can go into a French Open without too much pressure on myself.”

Unlike in the men’s game, where Rafael Nadal has won 10 French Open tournaments since 2005, no one female player has dominated on clay, with even Serena Williams finding only three of her 23 Grand Slam titles in Paris.

“I feel like there are no real clay-court specialists on the tour right now and I think that makes my motivation even better,” said Wozniacki, who lost in last year’s French Open quarter-finals to eventual champion Jelena Ostapenko.

“I definitely think that I’ve improved (on clay), but over the course of my career I’ve won a few tournaments on clay before so it’s all about trying to get things to click and get that feel back.”

– Serena a ‘dangerous floater’ –

Serena Williams was named on the French Open entry list on Wednesday as she returns to Grand Slam action for the first time since winning last year’s Australian Open before taking time off to give birth to her first child.

Her return hasn’t gone to plan so far with defeats in Indian Wells and Miami to sister Venus and Naomi Osaka respectively.

But now ranked 445 in the world, former world number one Serena will be the unseeded name in the draw that everyone wants to avoid.

“She’s definitely a dangerous floater, it’s never fun to play Serena, early on especially,” conceded Wozniacki.

“It’s fun to play her in the last stages and play the best players, but you just have to hope that she won’t be in your half of the draw.”

Wozniacki had an excellent season last year but struggled to win tournaments, losing in six consecutive finals before winning in September in Japan.

She followed that up with victory at the WTA Finals in Singapore, which she says was the springboard for her Australian Open success.

“Winning Singapore was a huge motivation and playing so well I was just hoping that I could carry that on until the start of the year.

“Playing the top eight players and beating Simona (Halep) 6-0, 6-2 and then beating (Elina) Svitolina 6-0, 6-2 gave me a lot of confidence that made me feel really good about my game.”

Wozniacki Wins First Major At Australian Open

Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki poses with the winner’s trophy after beating Romania’s Simona Halep in their women’s singles final match on day 13 of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 27, 2018. GREG WOOD / AFP

 

Caroline Wozniacki finally lifted her first Grand Slam title at the 43rd attempt as she beat Simona Halep 7-6 (7/2), 3-6, 6-4 to win the Australian Open on Saturday.

The Dane, who will take over as world number one, burst into tears as she secured the title against the battling Romanian top seed on her first match point of a gruelling, epic encounter.

Both players needed medical attention on court before the Dane prevailed in 2hr 49min in energy-sapping hot and humid conditions on Rod Laver Arena.

Wozniacki, 27, has long carried the unwanted moniker of best player never to win a major, having reached the US Open final in 2009 and 2014, and first becoming number one in 2010.

Both of them were in their third major final — their first in Australia — and both had saved match points in earlier rounds to get there.

Wozniacki started the stronger and broke Halep’s opening service game with the early evening temperature still above 30 Celsius (86 Farenheit).

The Dane sped into a 3-0 lead behind a consistent first serve.

Wozniacki had not won a set in either of her previous two Grand Slam final appearances and tightened visibly serving for this one at 5-3. Halep aggressively took advantage and moved to three break points at 0-40.

A big second serve and a first ace saved two of them but the relentless Halep forced Wozniacki long with a sliced forehand and the final was back on serve.

In the tiebreak the Dane went 4-1 up before a second mini-break and two solid serves gave her the tiebreak 7-2.
Wozniacki was growing in confidence and Halep needed to save four break points at 1-1 in the second set in a brutal game that lasted 11 minutes.

Worrying Scenes

Soon after Halep signalled to her coach Darren Cahill in the player’s box that she wasn’t feeling well and there were worrying scenes as she had her blood pressure taken and an ice towel applied in the next changeover.

Halep re-emerged with her energy drained and needed the luckiest of net cords to hold for 4-3.

Cramping and almost limping, she decided to stand and deliver in the next game, keeping the points short.
Incredibly the tactic paid off as she broke Wozniacki with a ripping drive up the line and served at 5-3 to level the match.

Wozniacki forced two break back points which Halep saved, before levelling on her third set point.
The tournament’s extreme heat policy was invoked meaning the players took a 10-minute break before the start of the third set.

When they resumed Wozniacki held before wearing Halep down with a series of long rallies and securing the break for 2-0 as the match clock hit the two-hour mark.

Halep dug deep and got it back to 2-1 on her sixth break point of a gruelling game when Wozniacki double-faulted after almost 12 minutes.

Both players were feeling the heat and two more breaks of serve were exchanged as they struggled to find any rhythm until Halep held for 3-3.

Wozniacki’s weaker forehand let her down twice from deuce and Halep led for the first time in the match at 4-3.

Now it was the turn of the Dane to call the physio. With her left knee freshly strapped she broke Halep yet again to level at 4-4.

Finally, having not held since the first game of the third set Wozniacki managed it again and crucially led 5-4 with Halep having to serve to stay in the match.

She couldn’t manage it and a backhand into the net brought an end to her brave challenge.

I Never Stopped Believing, Says Wozniacki

I Never Stopped Believing, Says Wozniacki
Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki reacts after a point against Belgium’s Elise Mertens during their women’s singles semi-finals match on day 11 of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 25, 2018. SAEED KHAN / AFP

 

Caroline Wozniacki says she never gave up on herself or her Grand Slam title dream after beating Elise Mertens Thursday to reach her first Australian Open final.

The Danish world number two overcame a late wobble in her semi-final to beat the unseeded Mertens 6-3, 7-6 (7/2) and set up a clash against Romanian top seed Simona Halep on Saturday.

“It means so much to me,” she said after reaching her third major final and first since the 2014 US Open.

“I always believed in myself. I had a tough period where I had a few injuries,” added the 27-year-old, who slid down the rankings to 19th at the end of 2016.

“That was kind of hard and tough mentally. But once I got past that, I knew that if I can stay healthy and I work hard, my game is good enough for it.”

Her hard work was rewarded with a renaissance in 2017, reaching eight finals — winning in Tokyo and at the season-ending WTA Finals.

“I think if you don’t feel like you can go all the way in tournaments, then to me there’s no sense in playing. I want to be competitive. I want to be the best and that’s why I’m still playing,” she said.

If Wozniacki wins the final she will regain the number one spot six years after last holding the position — the longest gap between stints at the top since computerised rankings were introduced in 1975.

She would beat the record of Serena Williams who went five years and 29 days between spells as number one.

Against Mertens, she got the wobbles serving for the match at 5-4, the same score as in her previous semi-final appearance in Melbourne against Li Na seven years ago.

On that occasion Wozniacki lost in three sets to the Chinese great, a meltdown the Dane said “still haunts her”, and history repeated itself as Mertens broke back.

“I got really tight at 5-4,” said Wozniacki. “I think I was nervous. All of a sudden, yeah, it just turned around.

“But I managed to just gather myself and thankfully closed it out in the end,” said Wozniacki who also saved three sets points at 5-6 in her next service game.

“Normally I am really calm so once I started feeling really nervous, it felt like my legs were shaking a bit.”

Halep later came through a thriller 9-7 in the third set against 2016 champion Angelique Kerber after saving two match points.

“Halep, just like me, was down match points early on in the tournament,” said Woznaicki, who saved two match points at 5-1 down in an earlier match against unseeded Jana Fett.

“I think it’s exciting because we’re both playing for the number one ranking.

“I could have been home already. But now I’m here and I fought my way all the way to the finals. I’m just really proud of that and really excited.”

AFP

Halep Faces Wozniacki In Australian Open Final

Halep Faces Wozniacki In Australian Open Final
File: Simona Halep of Romania hits a return during her women’s singles match against Maria Sharapova of Russia at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing on October 4, 2017.
NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP

 

World number one Simona Halep set up an Australian Open final against Caroline Wozniacki after a thrilling 6-3, 4-6, 9-7 battle past former champion Angelique Kerber on Thursday.

In a see-sawing contest, Halep sprinted into a 6-3, 3-1 lead before the 2016 Melbourne Park winner, seeded 21, fought back.

The Romanian finally prevailed in 2hr 20min with her fourth match point to ensure a new name will grace the trophy on Saturday.

“Definitely was very tough. I’m shaking now. I’m really emotional right now because I won this match,” said Halep, who saved two match points.

“I knew it was going to be tough. She is hitting from everywhere, I’m glad I could resist. Thank you everyone for supporting me, you helped me.”

Halep scampered to the first set in 25 minutes and, after dropping the second set against the run of play, squandered two match points in the third before saving two from Kerber as she served for the match at 6-5.

“I said if she come back I could do it. I had confidence in myself,” said Halep.

“I tried to be calm today. It was a rollercoaster, up and down. If you don’t give up you can win. I did it well. I am proud of myself.”

There was little hint of the drama to come when Halep, whose Grand Slam best is twice runner-up at Roland Garros, flew out of the blocks and dropped just three points in taking a 5-0 lead before Kerber woke up.

The German broke back twice to 5-3, before Halep, scampering and retrieving everything the double Grand Slam champion threw at her, regrouped and took Kerber’s next service game to seal the set in 25 minutes.

Halep was in front at 3-1 in the second but Kerber, who will get back into the top 10 after her run at Melbourne, would not give up and extended it to a decider.

The win sets up an intriguing final where a first Grand Slam title and the world number one ranking will be on the line for both Halep and Wozniacki, with the winner claiming both.

“I respect her a lot, and I know it’s going to be similar. I will have to run, so a very good rest after this match,” said Halep of facing Wozniacki who will also be in her third Grand Slam final and first in Australia.

“I want to give my best to believe that I have the chance to win and not to think about the title. If it’s going to come, it’s going to come.”

Wozniacki beat unseeded Elise Mertens 6-3, 7-6 (7/2) to book her place in the showpiece clash.

The final will be only the 17th time in Australian Open history that the number one and two seeds have met for the title — both first and second seeds have won eight times each.

The last time it happened was in 2015 when top seed Serena Williams beat second-seeded Maria Sharapova.

AFP

Australian Open: Wozniacki Beats Mertens To Reach Final

Wozniacki Beats Mertens To Reach Australian Open Final
Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki hits a return against Belgium’s Elise Mertens during their women’s singles semi-finals match on day 11 of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 25, 2018. Paul Crock / AFP

 

Caroline Wozniacki is one match away from ending her Grand Slam title drought after overcoming a late wobble to beat unseeded Elise Mertens and reach the Australian Open final Thursday.

The Danish world number two won 6-3, 7-6 (7/2) in 1hr 37min after almost allowing the world number 37 a way back when serving for the match at 5-4, and seemingly in complete control.

Two double faults enabled Mertens, in her first semi-final at this level on her Australian Open debut, to level at 5-5.

Serving to take it to a tiebreak at 5-6 Wozniacki then needed to save three sets points before sealing the match in the tiebreak.

“It means so much to me.” she said after reaching her maiden Australian Open final and her first Grand Slam decider since 2014, where she will play either top seed Simona Halep or the 2016 Melbourne Park champion Angelique Kerber on Saturday.

“I got really tight at 5-4. I thought ‘calm down it’s all good’. It wasn’t good anymore. Served a couple of double faults.

“Normally I am really calm so once I started feeling really nervous, it felt like my legs were shaking a bit.

“I just took a few deep breaths and once she had set point, I said: ‘Well, I guess it is a third set. Just need to go forward’.”

Wozniacki has never quite lived up to the hype in the majors — this will be just her third Grand Slam final appearance, nine years after her first at the US Open in 2009.

The 27-year-old rose to the top of the world rankings in 2010 but has only made the title match at a Grand Slam once since then, also at Flushing Meadows in 2014.

Mertens, in only her fifth Grand Slam appearance and Australian Open debut, signalled her intent to attack from the start, standing inside the baseline to receive Wozniacki’s second serve.

– Aggressive overtures –

It was a high-risk strategy and with Wozniacki repelling all the Belgian’s aggressive overtures, the errors began to flow at regular intervals from Mertens’ racket.

Serving at 1-3, 15-40, a netted forehand, her fifth unforced error on that wing, gave the Dane, back in a semi-final at Melbourne for the first time since 2011, the first break.

Mertens, seeking to become the first Belgian since Kim Clijsters here in 2011 to reach a Slam final, kept up the attack and fashioned a break point in the next game but Wozniacki stood up to the challenge and held for 4-1.

Serving at 2-5, Mertens saved a set point when Wozniacki went long with a forehand. The Dane was unperturbed by the minor setback and held to love to seal a comfortable first set 6-3 after 38 minutes.

There was little between the pair in terms of winners in the first stanza, Wozniacki edging the count 13 to 12.

But the unforced error count was telling — the Dane committing just six while Mertens threw away 14 points.

The second set went with serve until the Dane’s late wobble, before she finally made it through.

AFP

Wozniacki Ends Williams Jinx To Win WTA Finals

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark lifts the trophy after winning against Venus Williams. ROSLAN RAHMAN / AFP

Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki ended her career-long jinx against Venus Williams in spectacular style to lift the WTA Finals trophy for the first time on Sunday.

The Dane had won just one set from seven harrowing defeats to Williams but she turned the tables with a 6-4, 6-4 victory in 89 minutes at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Wozniacki had some nervy moments after 37-year-old Williams, the tournament’s oldest ever finalist, clawed her way back from 0-5 down in the second set.

But she kept her cool to seal victory with a backhand down the line, throwing her racquet into the air and holding her hands to her face in disbelief.

“I am so happy I managed to win in the end,” Wozniacki said. “Eight is my lucky number. If I was going to beat her (Williams) once in my career, it had to be today.

“It is really sweet, I couldn’t be happier right now.”

Wozniacki has been in brilliant, aggressive form in Singapore, beating Elina Svitolina and Simona Halep at the group stage and Karolina Pliskova in the semi-finals.

After an even start, she seized control of the final by breaking four straight times across the sets to lead 5-0 in the second set.

But with the title in her sights, Wozniacki was unable to serve it out in the seventh game and the ninth, when Williams produced an astounding crosscourt winner to win her fourth straight game.

But Wozniacki finally triumphed in the 10th game with her backhand winner to celebrate in style.

Williams, 37, looked increasingly weary as the match wore on after playing a gruelling, three-set semi-final against Caroline Garcia on Saturday.

In a contrast of styles, counter-puncher Wozniacki tried to extend the rallies while her big-hitting opponent attempted to shorten points through sheer power and rushes to the net.

Wozniacki broke three times in the first set and took a one-set lead when Williams played a loose service game at 4-5 down — just she second set she had ever conceded to the Dane.

Wozniacki, in her first WTA Finals since 2014, flourished in Singapore, with a tough three-set defeat to Caroline Garcia her only slip-up.

It completed a stellar comeback season for the two-time Grand Slam finalist, who endured an injury-marred 2016 and finished ranked number 19, her lowest position since 2007.

Williams was denied a 50th career triumph and first for the year, having finished runner-up at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. She will remain the world number five after playing in her first WTA Finals since 2009.

Earlier, world number three pairing Timea Babos and Andrea Hlavackova won the WTA Finals doubles title on debut with a 4-6, 6-4, 10-5 comeback victory over Kiki Bertens and Johanna Larsson.

AFP

Caroline Wozniacki Win Sevastova To Reach U.S. Open Semi-Final

Caroline-WozniackiFormer world number one, Caroline Wozniacki, has reached the semi-finals of the U.S. Open, with a ruthless 6-love 6-2 win over Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova.

Sevastova, the first Latvian to reach a grand slam quarter-final, saw her U.S. open hopes come to a painful end when she rolled her ankle chasing down a ball on Wozniacki’s opening serve.

After watching Sevastova crash to the court and then get up, Wozniacki said she had taken no chances with a spot in the semi-finals on the line.

The next game will be her fifth US Open semi-final.