This year on tour has been Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki’s most successful in her career. In early January, after years of unsuccessful attempts at winning a major championship, she finally won her first Grand Slam. She beat Simona Halep at the Australian Open in three sets, capturing her lifelong dream of being a Major winner.
The Great Dane won Eastbourne last week, one of the WTA tune-up grass court events to Wimbledon, making her one of the perennial contenders at the All-England Club.
But today at Wimbledon, her quest for another Grand Slam would come to an end. She would lose to former top 10 Czech player Ekaterina Makarova 6-4, 1-6, 7-5.
Before today’s match, Wozniacki had beaten Makarova seven times. But in the sets the Czech player won, Caroline could not convert over 43% of her first serve points.
Makarova served beautifully, averaging 73 percent for the entire match and converting seven aces. She was up a break and serving for the match in the 3rd set but Wozniacki broke back and evened the match at five apiece.
But the Czech dug deep, surviving the momentum from Wozniacki to win the match 7-5. She eliminated the third top-five seed in the women’s draw before the third round. The other two to lose were Sloane Stephens and Elian Svitolina. It is the most top-five seeds to bow out before the third round at any Wimbledon Championships in the Open Era.
Throughout the match, Wozniacki was complaining of the ants flying around the court. She had to get a tournament official to spray bug spray around the court. Caroline was heard telling the umpire: “You want to focus on playing tennis and not eating bugs.”
Whether or not the insects had an impact or not, it was clear in the big moments that Wozniacki was overmatched by Makarova. The draw now opens up, giving players in the bottom half like Makarova and Americans Madison Keys and Serena Williams, a greater opportunity to advance to the semifinals.
This was not the way Wozniacki’s Wimbledon wanted to end. She was expected to contend for a title and try to reclaim the #1 ranking. It will now be a long summer before she can try to win her second Major of the year in New York at the US Open.
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