Wozniacki crashes out of WTA Championships

Caroline Wozniacki, who celebrated becoming the year-end world number one for the second successive year on Wednesday, marked the occasion by crashing out of the WTA Championships on Thursday.

Updated: October 28, 2011 23:37 IST
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Istanbul: Caroline Wozniacki, who celebrated becoming the year-end world number one for the second successive year on Wednesday, marked the occasion by crashing out of the WTA Championships on Thursday.

Although the 21-year-old Dane has topped the rankings for full 64 weeks, she was so outplayed by Petra Kvitova, the Wimbledon champion from the Czech Republic, that she looked anything but the best player in the world.

Indeed there were moments when Wozniacki was so out of sorts during a 6-4, 6-2 defeat that the crowd began to applaud her out of sympathy.

Twice she called her father-coach Piotr on to court and once she asked for the trainer, who appeared to take her blood pressure, and the setback left Wozniacki with only one victory in her three group matches.

Kvitova’s win ensured she qualifies for the semi-finals after two matches, and that both Vera Zvonareva, the Russian who beat Wozniacki on Wednesday, and Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, would finish above the top ranked player.

Radwanska defeated Zvonareva 1-6, 6-2, 7-5 to set-up a tense Friday finale to the group stage.

If Radwanska wins just a set against Kvitova on Friday, she will qualify for the semi-finals; if Radwanska loses to Kvitova in straight sets on Friday, Zvonareva will go through.

Wozniacki’s dominance of the rankings was described as "a huge personal achievement" by Stacey Allaster, the chief executive of the WTA, with her name being linked to a group of only seven women - including Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf - who have finished consecutive seasons as number one.

Wozniacki herself called it "a dream come true", but it would arguably have been as big a boost for her to win the WTA Championships, a bigger title than any she has yet won.

It was doing this which notably inspired Amelie Mauresmo, the now retired French favourite, to winning two Grand Slam titles within a few months of capturing the WTA Championships title in Los Angeles in 2005.

Rather like Mauresmo then, Wozniacki has conspicuously failed to win a Grand Slam.

Here she has looked like a physically gifted player, with excellent movement, tactical sense, and consistency, but without a cutting edge or a weapon to drag her out of trouble.

It may precisely be this hard-working style which, after almost 80 matches in a year, has contributed to the worn-out batteries which seemed evident in this flat performance.

"I tried my best, but my body didn’t want to do the things I asked it today," Wozniacki said. "What I told my brain didn’t go to my body."

"A lot of things have been happening this week. It’s just unfortunate that my body has been feeling tired. To get sick now is not the best time if you want to beat the top players."

"That’s not to say Petra would not have won the match anyway. She has been playing very well and she deserves to have won her two matches."

Kvitova was indeed destructive with her flat-hitting, even on a slowish court, and her angular left-handed serve was very deceptive. In this vein she may be hard to stop.

However it has been Victoria Azarenka who has been looking the strongest player in the field at the moment.

Her 6-2, 6-2 win over Li Na, the French Open champion from China, took little more than an hour and a half, and guarantees a semi-final place, even if she were to lose on Friday to Marion Bartoli of France, who replaced the injured Sharapova.

Bartoli is certain to earn $50,000 even if she loses. She can bump that total up to $115,000 just by winning one match.

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  • Tennis
  • Petra Kvitova
  • Elena Vesnina
  • Petra Martic
  • Nadia Petrova
  • Maria Sharapova
  • Sania Mirza
  • Shahar Peer
  • Mathilde Johansson
  • Caroline Wozniacki

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