Wednesday 11 December 2019

Wozniacki finally ends long wait for semi-final spot

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark celebrates defeating Sara Errani of Italy in their women's quarter-finals singles match at the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament
Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark celebrates defeating Sara Errani of Italy in their women's quarter-finals singles match at the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament

Caroline Wozniacki's private life may have been torn apart when Rory McIlroy called off their engagement earlier this summer but the 24-year-old Dane's tennis has gone from strength to strength.

A crushing 6-0 6-1 victory over Sara Errani at the US Open sent Wozniacki through to her first Grand Slam semi-final for three years. Victory tomorrow over the unseeded Chinese player, Peng Shuai, would take the world No11 into only her second Grand Slam final following her defeat by Belgium's Kim Clijsters here in New York five years ago.

"It's been a pretty up and down year for me," Wozniacki said with a fair degree of understatement.

"To be here in the semi-finals of the US Open once again is an incredible feeling. Definitely, hard work pays off. I'm here and I'm so happy."

During her 67 weeks as world No1 Wozniacki grew used to criticism over her failure to win a Grand Slam title and her supposed over-reliance on her athleticism and her defensive abilities.

"I have proved people wrong so many times," she said. "I was told when I was younger there was no chance I would make the top 100, top 50, top 30. Every time I have proved them wrong."

Wozniacki struck 26 winners and won 57 points to Errani's 26 as Italy's world No 14 was outclassed. With Wozniacki hitting the ball consistently from the baseline, Errani tried to unsettle the Dane by attacking the net but succeeded only in prompting a succession of winning passing shots and lobs.

Russia's Ekaterina Makarova reached her first Grand Slam singles semi-final by beating Belarusian Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-2 yesterday. Azarenka had suffered from food poisoning the previous day, which was evident in her lacklustre performance.

Roger Federer is through to his 10th US Open quarter-final in the last 11 years. The 33-year-old Swiss beat Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4 6-3 6-2 and now plays France's Gaël Monfils, who defeated Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov 7-5 7-6 7-5.

US Open, live Sky Sports 3, 5.00pm

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