One year ago, Caroline Wozniacki was struggling to win matches after a season full of injuries that kept her away from the entire clay season. She eventually fell outside the Top #50, and many thought that, probably, times were mature for the Danish player to call it a career. Many, but definitely not the Dane herself. Indeed, as an unseeded player, she made a tremendous run at the US Open, eventually reaching the semi-finals. From that moment on, her resurgence has been fabulous, and worth narration.
One year after, Caroline Wozniacki is ranked #6, and has earned her first ever win over a #1 in the world. A stat which may seem impressive and hard to believe, though it shouldn’t be forgotten, is that the Dane has been world #1 for a total of 67 weeks. Hence, for all this 67 weeks she couldn’t get a win against a world #1! Wozniacki ousted Karolina Pliskova – in her first tournament as a world #1 – in the quarterfinals of the Rogers Cup, prevailing 6-4 in the deciding set. This win, which probably was her best of the season so far, was her 45th of the year. Impressive number, given the fact that a lot of tournaments are yet to be played. First of all, the US Open, the only Slam where the Dane has reached the final, both in 2009 and 2014.
In the semifinals of the Rogers Cup, she is going to battle against Sloane Stephens, who is playing only her third tournament of the season after a one-year long injury, and who entered this week thanks to her SR, for she is ranked #934 (!) in the world. Despite the computers, she rallied past Petra Kvitova in a tight three-setter, before demolishing Angelique Kerber 6-2 6-2 and surviving multiple match points against Lucie Safarova. Therefore, it certainly won’t be a walk in the park, for the Dane, to reach the final. If she is able to ease past the American, then she will play her sixth final of the year, still in search for her first title – something which is impressive, as since 2008 the Dane has won at least a title per year!
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Up and down season for Caroline Wozniacki
Wozniacki’s season would be considered absolutely outrageous, if it wasn’t for the just mentioned record she holds in this year’s finals. Playing five of them without winning a single title is a sign that something isn’t working as it should, especially considering the Dane won 25 tournament during her career, the most by a player with no Slam titles. In some interviews, Wozniacki admitted that she is training less hard than in the past years. She indeed said that she eventually takes days-off once in a while, and that this is helping her to play more relaxed, with less pressure and with better results. That is surely true, given her performances. Though, probably this new mentality regarding training attenuated her hunger for wins together with her wavering competitiveness, which could be an explanation for her awful record in finals. Indeed, every time she plays a final, the impression is that her opponent wants the win more than she… and in the end, the opponent prevails!
However, Caroline Wozniacki is going to enter the US Open with enormous confidence, knowing that her chances of making a deep run are very high. Indeed, hard court is for sure the surface that suits her game the most, and with all that’s happening in the WTA (Serena Williams’ pregnancy, Victoria Azarenka’s legal problems…), the Dane has to be considered one of the favorite for the title. I dare say that the upcoming US Open will be one of the best chances of her entire career to finally throw away the label of “Slamless number one” and to reach the only milestone missing in her career – a Grand Slam title.
Good news: Caroline Wozniacki has made a tour-best five finals in 2017.
Bad news: she’s 0-5 in those finals.
Loses to Siniakova in Båstad.
Why Caroline Wozniacki will not win the US Open
The only problem should be the fact that she has to deal with the pressure of defending a massive amount of points. If she fails this mission, her ranking will probably drop once again. Honestly, it seems quite unlikely to me that the Dane will succumb to this pressure. First, since she is quite addicted to ranking fluctuation, as she fell down multiple times, and each of them she found the strength to rise again.
Secondly, I honestly do not see the Dane playing on tour for another year. She has had a tremendous focus this season, playing full time almost every week with great intensity, dedicating a massive part of her life to the tour. As I said before, she took some days off during training, but the frequency of tournament played has been amazing. More than once, she admitted that she is quite tired, and she certainly won’t be around playing until a Williams’ age!
It would certainly be great if Caroline Wozniacki, just like Flavia Pennetta two years ago, wins her maiden Slam title, and then say farewell to tennis. 2017 US Open will be worth watching also for this reason!
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