The clanging of the gates can still be heard, signifying the end of this year’s Wimbledon, but the focus for many, has already switched to the final Grand Slam of the season: the US Open.
Rafael Nadal has been back in his home country honing his skills on the hard courts of Mallorca. However, for the ever-popular Dane, Caroline Wozniacki, the focus since January, will always have been on the US Open. Many commentators and fans alike see it as her best shot at a Grand Slam.
It’s been a long and frustrating season for Wozniacki fans the world over – their heroine has put in some great performances, beating the likes of Karolina Pliskova, Wimbledon champion Garbine Murguruza, and Madison Keys this season, but alas no title, yet. This said, nobody could grumble if she only added one to her current career 25 titles – the US Open.
Injury, more than poor form has led to this year’s underachievement, for a player of Wozniacki’s calibre, anyway. The recent Aegon Classic (Eastbourne) final defeat at the hands of Karolina Pliskova sums up her season so far, really. “Wozniacki The Great’ was struggling with injury – needing medical treatment for an abdominal injury — and great grit summoning in order to defeat home favourite Heather Watson in the semis. This shows that Wozniacki still has the heart, fight and ability – she just needs some luck with injury, or more to the point, no more bad luck in that area.
A Grand Slam still looks well within her grasp, and Flushing Meadows is her best opportunity. There is no shame in her last 16 defeat to up & comer; Coco Vandeweghe at Wimbledon recently, either.
The US Open 2017 could be Wozniacki’s time
Followers of the popular Dane will always have the US Open in their mind as Wozniacki’s best shot at breaking her Grand Slam duck. She’s put in some good shifts there – a run to the final of this Slam in 2014, only to lose to Serena Williams, who was in blistering form at the time. 2016 saw Wozniacki rush through to the semis, beating Madison Keys en route, losing to the eventual winner, Angelique Kerber.
Wozniacki’s energy, crushing backhand, and stoic point-building ability seem well-fitted to the fast hard courts of Flushing Meadows. The energy of the crowd at this tournament seems to give her a needed edge.
Four finals this year have all gone the way of Wozniacki’s opponent. Given this statistic, you would be forgiven for yelling “choker,” but that is not the case, nor is it fair. Injury or just plain bad luck, at times, has stopped her gaining that deserved Grand Slam. A victory at one would seal a great career in tennis.
An open women’s US Open this year
Injury and absence makes this year’s final Grand Slam eminently winnable for Wozniacki. Serena is still absent, last year’s champion Kerber is not even close to the form of last year and, Petra Kvitova is still on the road to recovery after suffering a horrific attack in her home last year.
Wozniacki’s fitness means that she can take advantage as those around her start to suffer from a long and grueling season. Keep an eye on her over the summer on the American hard courts (she is playing on the clay in Bastad this week, though). If she can do well there, all eyes should be on her in Flushing Meadows.