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Wozniacki advances to first career Grand Slam final

Posted by on Sep 12th, 2009 and filed under  Top Stories, Latest News, Tennis. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Woznizcki_0912Woznizcki_0912-1Caroline Wozniacki did what she does best against Yanina Wickmayer.

The 19-year-old Dane used her great speed to cover the entire court and played outstanding defense, catching up to ball after ball that Wickmayer sprayed around the court.

It was not the cleanest victory with nine breaks of serve in the rain-delayed match but regardless, Wozniacki, the No. 9 seed, is into her first career Grand Slam final with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Wickmayer late Saturday night.

Wozniacki now faces 2005 US Open champion Kim Clijsters in the women’s final Sunday night.

“I’m in the US Open final. I cannot describe it with words. I’m so excited,” Wozniacki said. “I’m so happy I pulled it through today. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a dream come true to play the finals of a Grand Slam, and now I’m here.”

On her path to the final, Wozniacki has dropped just one set; in her fourth round come-from-behind win over Svetlana Kuznetsova. She is now the first Dane, man or woman, to reach the final of a Grand Slam in the Open Era.

This was the first Grand Slam semifinal for both players. Wickmayer, a 19-year-old Belgian, was arguably the biggest surprise among the four semifinalists, having never previously advanced past the second round of any Grand Slam singles main draw and is ranked No. 50.

But against Wozniacki, the No. 8 player in the world, Wickmayer played aggressively, showing off some powerful groundstrokes.

The first set featured breaks in six of the nine service games and as a whole, the match featured lots of long rallies.

Wickmayer dominated many points, especially early, moving Wozniacki around the court with her hard groundstrokes. However, she was unable to put a lot of the rallies away as her 40 unforced errors gave too many points to the Dane, who kept tracking down shot after shot.

“I knew it was tough to be out there, and we started around 9:00 (pm),” Wozniacki said. “We’d been waiting all day, so it was just about getting the feet going and to get as many, many balls back as possible.”

Wozniacki took the lead with a break in the fifth game to go up 3-2 and then held after some Wickmayer errors to take a 4-2 lead. The Dane immediately broke again as errors continued to hurt the aggressive Belgian, who missed a shot into the net to give Wozniacki the 5-2 lead.

Wickmayer would break back in the next game to pull to within 5-3 but Wozniacki served it out to take the opening set when the Belgian hit a volley into the net.

For the match, Wozniacki played steady, committing just 14 unforced errors and hitting eight winners – to 23 winners for Wickmayer.

The second set progressed on serve until the fifth game with Wozniacki keeping up her sensational defense and court coverage. And it was Wickmayer who broke first to take the lead at 3-2, hitting a winner inside the right line.

But the lead would not last long. The next game went to deuce and Wickmayer took the advantage but Wozniacki kept fighting as it went to deuce two more times. After another long rally, Wozniacki converted on her second break point chance when Wickmayer hit a shot wide and dropped her racket onto the court to make it 3-all.

Wozniacki then held and in the next game fought back when Wickmayer hit a forehand long to bring it to deuce. The game went to deuce two more times and on her first break point chance, Wozniacki converted when the Belgian hit a backhand into the net with a yell of “Come on!” and then served out the match for the US Open final against Clijsters, whom she has never faced.

“We want to win this Grand Slam, and it’s going to be a tough match. I haven’t really thought about any strategies yet or anything. I’m just so excited to be in the finals,” Wozniacki said of the final against Clijsters. “I’m just looking forward to play tomorrow, and I have a whole day tomorrow just to relax, just to enjoy that I’m in the finals. When it gets close, I’m going to talk to my dad who is also my coach about the tactics. Hopefully it can pay off, but there are no guarantees. I just want to go out there and enjoy that I’m in the finals.”

– UsOpen.org

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