Wozniacki Continues Hot Streak in New Haven
Published August 23, 2008 12:00
NEW HAVEN, CT, USA - Before this year she wasn't even in the Top 50, but after this week she will become the newest addition to the Top 20. Caroline Wozniacki was in strong form all week at the Pilot Pen Tennis and on Saturday afternoon had a fairy tale ending, upsetting No.1 seed Anna Chakvetadze in the final for her second Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title of the summer.
Despite being unseeded , Wozniacki had few problems in reaching the final, not dropping a set in four matches - including a 64 60 win over No.3 seed Marion Bartoli in the quarterfinals and a tougher, 75 64 win over No.7 seed Alizé Cornet in the semifinals, in which she had to rally from 0-3 in the second set to dispatch her fellow 18-year-old in two sets.
Chakvetadze - who had only dropped one set en route to the final, to resurgent former world No.1 Amélie Mauresmo in the semifinals - had all of the numbers on her side as she prepared for the title match. Although she had never played Wozniacki she had far more experience, having been as high as No.5 in the world before and enjoying some of her best career results on summer hardcourts; she was also 7-0 lifetime in finals, a perfect record that included one winning final performance earlier this year, beating Agnes Szavay at Paris [Indoors].
Chakvetadze won the first set of the final, 6-3, in just 39 minutes, then broke for a 1-0 lead in the second set, seemingly on her way to 8-0. But that was when Wozniacki came alive, cutting down on her unforced errors and taking control of more of the points. The Danish upstart fought back to win the second set, 6-4, then cruised through the third set in 25 minutes to complete a 36 64 61 victory.
"Anna was playing really aggressive; I was playing into her game too," Wozniacki said. "I was thinking, if I win this tournament I have to play my own game, and make her do the things I want her to do. I realized I'd lose if I didn't change something anyway, so I just tried to change my tactics. And it worked."
"I didn't recover from yesterday's match well enough," said Chakvetadze, whose semifinal match against Mauresmo was played Friday night. "I just didn't have enough power, especially in the third set. It's quite important that you're able to run and fight on the court. If you can't do that, you're going to lose."
Although she ended up without the title, Chakvetadze still had some positives to take away from New Haven.
"I won quite a few matches and I'm actually pleased with my game, except for today," said Chakvetadze, who hadn't reached a final since Paris [Indoors] in February. "If I compare the way I played to one month ago, it's much better. I'm looking forward to playing the US Open. It's the most important tournament. I'll get a day off in between each match so hopefully I can stay fresh for each one."
Wozniacki had several breakthrough results earlier in the year - reaching the fourth round or quarterfinals in her first five events - but since Wimbledon she has really upped the ante, including becoming the first Danish woman ever to win a Tour singles title at Stockholm and now repeating the feat in New Haven. Before this year she wasn't even in the Top 50, but after this week she will become the newest addition to the Top 20, projected to rise from No.22 to No.18.
"My first title was in Scandinavia, but it was smaller than this," Wozniacki said. "This is a really big tournament before the US Open and I beat some really great players to win it. I'm just happy to have won both tournaments!"
Wozniacki has now won 12 of her last 13 matches, going 5-0 here and 5-0 in Stockholm, and 2-1 at the Olympics last week (she fell to eventual gold medalist Elena Dementieva in the third round).
The only other Danish woman to ever capture a Tour title of any kind was Tine Scheuer-Larsen, who earned seven Tour doubles titles in the 1980s and 1990s, partnering the likes of Mercedes Paz and Jana Novotna.
Kveta Peschke and Lisa Raymond won the doubles crown. The No.2 seeds beat unseeded Romanians Sorana Cirstea and Monica Niculescu in a match tie-break, 46 75 107. It was Peschke's 13th Tour doubles title and Raymond's 67th (she is now the standalone No.10 all-time for Tour doubles titles, having been tied with Larisa Neiland at 66 since winning Memphis in February).