Wozniacki captures WTA marathon match
Caroline Wozniacki credited training for next month’s New York Marathon as a key factor in her victory over Maria Sharapova in a grueling three-set match Tuesday in the WTA Finals.
Wozniacki won 7-6 (4), 6-7 (5), 6-2 to beat Sharapova for the second straight time, having also won in the fourth round of the U.S. Open. Tuesday’s result in the round-robin match dealt a major blow to Sharapova’s hopes of claiming the year-end No. 1 ranking.
Wozniacki, who always has been regarded as one of the fittest players on tour, said her additional running work in preparation for the marathon had taken her stamina and confidence to a new level in the 3 hour, 15-minute match.
Nonetheless, she said the marathon will be a one-time affair and not something she would recommend to other players.
“To do it year in and year out, I don’t think it’s possible,’’ Wozniacki said. Our bodies get a beating already. I don’t think it’s necessary to do this again while I’m on tour.’’
No such stamina was required in Tuesday’s other match as Agnieszka Radwanska had a comfortable 6-2, 6-3 win over Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.
It was an impressive performance by the Pole, who had been beaten in straight sets the past two times she had played Kvitova. It was the fourth successive year in which the pair had faced each other in their opening match at the WTA Finals.
Sharapova had 15 double-faults, including two while serving for the first set, and 76 unforced errors. Wozniacki finished the match, which had 12 breaks of serve, with 35 unforced errors.
The defeat in her opening round-robin match means Sharapova now needs to at least reach the final in Singapore and hope Serena Williams loses her two remaining group matches if she is to overtake the American and finish the season with the top ranking for the first time.
Having staved off a set point against her in the 10th game, Wozniacki took the first set by winning the final five points of the tiebreaker.
Wozniacki went up a break early in the second, but relinquished the advantage in the sixth game as she complained to the chair umpire about swirling lights that suddenly came on during the middle of a point and remained on for the rest of the game.
The Dane recovered quickly after dropping the set, breaking Sharapova early in the third and then twice more to end it.
Sharapova was frustrated by her error-strewn performance, blaming her mistakes rather than Wozniacki’s play for her two consecutive losses to the Dane.
“It’s happened the last couple of times I played against her,’’ Sharapova said. “The chances that you have when you’re serving for a set, it’s in your hands to finish that off.” AP