Wozniacki & Vesnina Reach Charleston Final
Published April 09, 2011 12:00
CHARLESTON, SC, USA - In perhaps the most anticipated match-up of the week, Caroline Wozniacki was just too solid for Jelena Jankovic in the semifinals of the Family Circle Cup Saturday afternoon, at times struggling on serve but managing a 64 64 win over the Serb in front of a packed house.
Wozniacki, the No.1 seed, trailed by a break three times in the first set but broke back each time, sneaking one last break at 5-4. She won the set on a backhand get that prompted an overhead into the net from No.3 seed Jankovic.
The two players hung tightly to their serve in the second set, the only break going to Wozniacki in the final game - she won the match after Jankovic sailed a backhand volley long on match point No.1. She then threw her arms in the air.
"I had a lot of chances in the first set. I was up a break a few times and I never held serve. That was kind of the key," Jankovic said. "At the same time, I missed some balls that were kind of crucial, on some important points. But that's tennis. I fought hard and played the best I could. She was more solid."
Wozniacki is now into her second Family Circle Cup final, having been a runner-up to Sabine Lisicki two years ago. "I don't remember too much about the match, to be honest - I remember I lost, and tomorrow I'll try to win it," she said. "I'm just happy to be in the finals again. It has been a great week."
Jankovic was asked about the No.1-ranked Wozniacki's strengths. "What she does best is she runs all these balls down and makes you play the extra ball that with other players would be a winner. It somehow comes back with her. She reads the ball very well. She anticipates and she's at the ball every time. So you have to beat her because she's not going to give you anything."
Two surprise semifinalists met in the second match of the day, and it was an unseeded Elena Vesnina who overcame No.11 seed Peng Shuai, 76(4) 63. Peng is tied with Wozniacki with most wins on the year and was strong early, holding two set points on the Vesnina serve at 5-4; but Vesnina was strong as well, coming back to take the first set then taking the second set comfortably.
"Four weeks ago I thought I wouldn't be able to play here. I had a serious wrist injury," Vesnina said. "Then I did treatment - Vera Zvonareva helped me a lot with that, she had this trouble before. It started to feel much better. Then Sania Mirza and I won Indian Wells and I said I just need to enjoy my time on court because when you have an injury and don't play, it's like your life is on pause.
"I love Charleston. I've been coming here I think six years in a row."
Vesnina is now through to her fifth WTA final, but is 0-4 in her first four. One of those previous four finals came at the Premier tournament level, at New Haven in 2009 (where, coincidentally, she was runner-up to Wozniacki).
Wozniacki leads Vesnina in their head-to-head, 4-1. Vesnina came very close to winning two more of those meetings however, at Ponte Vedra Beach - also held on green clay - in 2009 and 2010. In 2009, she held four match points in a 26 63 76(4) loss, then in 2010 she led 61 53 during a 16 76(4) 64 loss.
"Caroline is No.1 in the world and she's playing really well. She's a great player and a sweet girl," Vesnina said. "I've played her a few times and two of those matches were really close, and I won one time, so I know her game pretty well. It depends how I feel and how she plays. I'll think about my gameplan tonight."
Peng was still happy to reach the semifinals of such a big event. "I tried my best. I'm a little tired from a long tournament. After this I'll go back home. I have like three, four days off, then I'll practice for two weeks and go to Madrid."
Peng was asked what she would do with her days off. "Sleeping, going out for dinner with friends, go shopping, watch movies and just do what all the girls do!"