wallops Errani to reach semi-finals
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[September 03, 2014]
By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Caroline Wozniacki
used her aggressive groundstroke game to near perfection on Tuesday and
pummeled Italy's Sara Errani 6-0 6-1 to reach the semi-finals of the
U.S. Open.The 10th seed reached the last four at a grand slam for the
first time since 2011 by beating Errani at her own strategy, engaging in
long baseline rallies but using superior power to open the court and
find lanes for winners.
Dane Wozniacki walloped winners of all varieties, belting 26 of
them to just 12 for her Italian opponent, who looked dazed and
confused at times on court.
The match ended when an Errani forehand hit the net tape and flopped
back on her own side of the net and the strains of "Sweet Caroline"
began to serenade Wozniacki over the loudspeaker.
"It's been a pretty up and down year for me," said Wozniacki, whose
two-year relationship with world number one golfer Rory McIlroy
ended this year just days after their wedding invitations were sent
"To be here in the semi-finals of the U.S. Open once again is an
incredible feeling. Definitely, hard work pays off. I'm here and I'm
The match began inauspiciously for Wozniacki, who struggled with the
warm winds that blew through the stadium.
She hit an ugly double fault on her second serve of the opening game
and had to fend off four break points to hold serve.
"Love-40 isn't really a good start, but it was really windy and it
just took me a few serves to kind of get into the rhythm and figure
out where to throw the ball and what to aim for," she said.
Wozniacki did not take long to adjust and ended up winning 57 points
to a mere 26 for the overmatched Errani.
Errani, accustomed to keeping the ball in play long enough to profit
from an unforced error, tried to force the action by approaching the
net, but Wozniacki whistled winners over her, past her and
occasionally right at her.
Errani came to net 20 times and won only half those points.
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"She is much stronger than me physically. I think that was the most
important difference today," said the 13th seed. "She don't miss a ball.
"I tried to change my game in the second set and come more to the net. I
was trying but was difficult."
Wozniacki, a finalist at the 2009 U.S. Open, reigned for 67 weeks as
number one back in 2010 and 2011 but is still seeking her first grand
Standing in her path to a return to a slam final is China's unseeded
Peng Shuai, who was equally impressive in routing 17-year-old Swiss
Belinda Bencic in the lower half of the women's draw where the leading
seeds have vanished in upsets.
"She's been playing well. She's playing aggressively," Wozniacki said of
Peng, who has lost in their last five meetings while winning one set.
"She's strong from both sides. She's been serving well. It's going to be
a difficult match."
"But it's going to fun," added a smiling Wozniacki, happy to be back on
the main stage with a real shot at a major title.
(Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)
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