Wozniacki's Dream Week In Dubai
Published Feburary 20, 2011 12:00
DUBAI, UAE - Caroline Wozniacki won her first WTA title of the year on Sunday night, cruising past Svetlana Kuznetsova in just 75 minutes, 61 63, to win the prestigious Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Wozniacki, the No.1 seed at the Premier-level tournament, reached the final without losing a set and that pattern continued as she had one of her most lopsided wins of the week against the No.16-seeded Kuznetsova, breaking serve seven times en route to her first WTA title of the year and the 13th of her career.
"I was hitting the ball cleanly and aggressively. I knew I had to, because if Svetlana is allowed to dictate, she's just too strong," Wozniacki said. "It was very important to stay pretty close to the baseline and keep her moving. I'm a player that can play aggressively, I can play defensively, I can mix it up and wait for the right moment. It depends on the opponent and it depends on how I feel.
"I always try to come up with the right answer to win the match."
The biggest news of the week may not have only been who the champion would be, but whether Wozniacki could regain No.1. She needed to reach the semifinals to secure the top spot just a week after losing it to Kim Clijsters - with her 62 64 win over No.9 seed Shahar Peer in the quarterfinals, Wozniacki met the requirements and will be No.1 again Monday for a 19th career week.
While Wozniacki improved to 13-8 in career finals, Kuznetsova fell to 13-19. She will, however, rise from No.23 in the world to inside the Top 15 when the new rankings are released, and did have a string of impressive wins en route to the final, including upsets over No.3 seed Francesca Schiavone, No.8 seed Agnieszka Radwanska and finally No.11 seed Flavia Pennetta.
"I was just making so many unforced errors," Kuznetsova said. "She defends well and doesn't really give you many free points. She plays a stable game and she wins. I just kept changing my strategy all match instead of just choosing one thing and playing it. She's just a smarter player. That's it."
Other noteworthy mentions from the week go to Alisa Kleybanova, who stunned No.2 seed Vera Zvonareva in the third round, and Jelena Jankovic, who rallied from 3-5 in the third set to beat Kaia Kanepi in the third round and 1-4 in the third set to beat No.4 seed Samantha Stosur in the quarterfinals before falling to Wozniacki, 75 63 (although she did hold four set points in that first set against the eventual champion, whom she had never lost to).
In a near-repeat of last year's doubles final, Liezel Huber and María José Martínez Sánchez beat Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik, 76(5) 63. Last year, Martínez Sánchez and Nuria Llagostera Vives beat Peschke and Srebotnik in the final; this year, Martínez Sánchez partnered Huber, a three-time champion in Dubai with Cara Black. It was their second event together.
"If you told me a year ago I'd be here winning with a different partner, I would say you're kidding me, because I had such a long career with Cara," Huber said. "I've grown over the last year. I played with 11 different partners last year. But the main thing is I truly believed in my partner this week. She was really sick to start the week and we had only played one time before, but our games mesh.
"I actually played the other side of the court than I normally play, so it's really exciting. It's almost like I'm 21 again. It's a beautiful trophy."
Huber is now 44-29 in WTA doubles finals; Martínez Sánchez is 14-10.