Saturday 21 October 2017

Wozilroy phenomenon: Rory bags shot of year as Caroline edges to Grand Slam win

Rory McIlroy and his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki
Rory McIlroy and his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki

GOLFER Rory McIlroy and his tennis player girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki are clearly good for each other.

The US Open champ’s six-iron on the 10th hole on the final day of that tournament has been voted the European Tour Shot of the Year for 2011.



And Caroline today edged closer to retaining top spot in the Australian Open in Melbourne by beating her Romanian rival.



And she revealed that she is being aided in her bid to win her first Grand Slam by her boyfriend who is giving her tips on mental toughness.



The celebrity sporting couple – called Wozzilroy – are both on top of their respective games.



But while Rory claimed his first Major title last year, Caroline, who has been the world’s No1 woman player for the last 66 weeks, still has to claim a Grand Slam.



She today again attempted to play down the significance of her number one ranking despite edging closer to retaining top spot with a routine win over Monica Niculescu at the Australian Open today.



The Dane, who is still seeking her first grand slam crown, has to reach at least the quarter-finals in Melbourne to stand any chance of staying ahead of the chasing pack and moved within one win of achieving that with a 6-2 6-2 defeat of 31st seed Niculescu.



Although Romanian Niculescu posed plenty of problems with her unorthodox game, which sees her hit double-handed groundstrokes on both sides as well as mixing it up with the occasional sliced forehand and foray to the net, Wozniacki always had the answers in what was arguably her most impressive performance of the tournament so far.



And she was eager to focus afterwards on on-court matters rather than dwell too long on how her progress would affect her standing.



"To be honest I just play," she said.



"I want to try to do my best here and whatever happens, happens.



"I have proven myself for the last two years. I have finished number one twice in a row.



"And for me the most important thing is to keep on improving. If I do that I know I can play on a very high level.



"If you win tournaments, then the ranking will be there automatically."



Wozniacki displayed a more attacking game today, matching Niculescu's frequent trips to the net and displaying a nice touch, especially on the backhand side.



She added: "I've worked quite a bit on my volleys.



"I still think I could have finished a few more points up there but I'm improving and I'm trying to move in when I can."



Victoria Azarenka, one of three players who could usurp Wozniacki from the top spot - Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova are the others, kept up the pressure with a 6-2 6-4 victory over Mona Barthel.



Although the result was never in doubt, the match ended on a controversial note when Azarenka issued a verbal volley to a linesperson after squandering four match points.



The third-seeded Belarusian revealed afterwards the outburst was a ploy to wind herself up to get over the line.



"I had to get a little bit angry to get my emotions going to finish the match, because I had a few chances and I didn't convert them," she said.



"Sometimes you just have to push yourself a little bit to get you going again.



"I am a very emotional player."



Next up for Azarenka is Czech Iveta Benesova, who thrashed Russian qualifier Nina Bratchikova 6-1 6-3, while Wozniacki meets Jelena Jankovic, a 6-2 6-0 victor over American Christine McHale.



Eighth seed Agnieszka Radwanska progressed with a 6-2 6-2 win against Galina



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