The defensive, grinding Dane Caroline Wozniacki finished her 2019 season in Beijing in early October. It’s the first time in the past three seasons that she hass failed to qualify for the WTA Finals.
Beijing Showing Represents Promising Season End for Caroline Wozniacki
The semifinal in Beijing against a resurgent Naomi Osaka represents a sign of hope for Wozniacki. At times, the Dane was at her defensive best frustrating the world #3–redirecting power off serves and returns. The Japanese power hitter prevailed in three tough sets, but Wozniacki showed an increased level, missing for most of 2019.
Charleston Final Appearance Represents a 2019 High
The gray clay of Charleston allowed Wozniacki her only final appearance of the season. Her semifinal match against the always tricky Petra Martic saw a bolder Wozniacki on court. In the final, Madison Keys’ power was too much even on a slower surface. This run to the final was followed by three successive first round losses on clay. It’s the biggest hint yet that Wozniacki has to ensure recovery after long runs in tournaments. You may see more withdrawals next season after a deep run.
Fewer Matches for Wozniacki since Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnos
Ever since being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, goals for Wozniacki have been scaled back by fans and critics alike. A hint at the impact of this affliction can be gained by looking at the number of matches played per season. This season, Wozniacki played a mere 35 matches. This is 40% fewer than 2018 and 57% fewer than the 81 matches contested in the 2017 season. It suggests that 2020 will be about prioritizing tournaments and learning more about pain management.
Wozniacki Absent from 2nd Week of a Slam for first Season Since 2015
The grueling two-week schedule of a Slam might push the limits of the 2017 Australian Open champion. A 1st round French Open defeat to Veronica Kudermetova was outweighed by 3rd round exits in the other Slams. At Flushing Meadows, the defensive flair showed up big-time in early rounds. Stoic victories against awkward opponents Wang Yafan and Danielle Collins showed that desire still burns brightly inside of Wozniacki. It took two tights sets for the eventual champion Bianca Andreescu to stop her. A kinder draw could have seen the Dane in the second week of the US Open.
Olympic Medal Could be a Goal for the Proud Dane, but may Need Court Case to Get there Again
The Olympics in Tokyo could be an alternative focus given the shorter format than a Slam. However, nothing is smooth running for the Dane at the moment. There are doubts over her eligibility for the 2020 Olympics.
The Danish #1 withdrew from a Fed Cup qualifier in Polan, earlier this year. Wozniacki falls short of the ITF rules for Olympic participation. These state that players have to represent their country at Fed Cup World Stage in the last two years. In 2015, Wozniacki last struck a ball in anger at the Fed Cup. Ahead of the 2016 Olympics, Wozniacki won an appeal to the Olympic participation committee against these rules. She went onto be the flag bearer for her country. However, in three attempts she has never progressed beyond the quarterfinals. This patriot will surely seek to improve on this showing. On a good week, she is a lively medal prospect.
Too Soon to Write Off Caroline Wozniacki for 2020
Those writing off Caroline Wozniacki do so at their peril. 2020 is about knowing her limits and making tough scheduling decisions. It is definitely still within her gift to improve on her current raking of #38. A first Olympic medal will certainly go down a treat with her country and her fans. Should she make it there, of course.