Wozniacki beats heat, Sharapova to reach quarters
NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 1
DENMARK’S Caroline Wozniacki sent Maria Sharapova packing at the US Open on Sunday, reaching the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 win over the five-time Grand Slam champion.
The defeat ends French Open winner Sharapova’s bid to claim a second major title in a single year for the first time in her career.
And for former world number one Wozniacki, it marked a return to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time since the 2012 Australian Open.
“It means a lot to me,” said Wozniacki, who won her 22nd WTA title in Istanbul this year, but lost in the fourth round at Wimbledon, the third round at the Australian Open and the first round at the French Open.
“The season for me has been a little bit up and down,” added the Dane, who also had to cope with the abrupt and highly-publicized end of her engagement to golfer Rory McIlroy in May.
“To win today against a champion like Maria is an unbelievable feeling.”
In a match played in oppressively humid conditions in the swirling winds of Arthur Ashe Stadium court, Wozniacki kept her composure in the face of a second-set surge from Sharapova. After both were granted a locker room heat break before the third set, Wozniacki came out firing, pushing Sharapova into long rallies that often ended with the Russian upping her error count.
“She played really well in the second set. She went in and started attacking me,” said Wozniacki, who found herself becoming more tentative.
“When we had that break, I said ‘OK, win or lose I’m going to go for my shots. I’m going to go for it. This is the only chance I have to win. If I’m going to lose, at least I’m going to do it with dignity.”
She broke Sharapova to love in the fourth game of the third to take a 3-1 lead, stretching out a rally on break point to finally draw a backhand into the net from her foe.
Energized, Wozniacki gestured to the crowd with both arms as the roars rang out.
She broke Sharapova again in the final game, firing a backhand winner on match point.
Wozniacki notched her third victory over Sharapova in eight career meetings, and her first since 2011.
“Definitely it ranks up there,” Wozniacki said of the win. “Maria obviously is a tough competitor.
“She’s won here before. She won the French Open this year. Beating her here at the US Open, it’s a tough task. I’m really happy to be through and have another chance to play in the next round.” Wozniacki will face 13th-seeded Italian Sara Errani for a place in the semifinals.