Caroline Wozniacki, Queen Of Carolina
Published April 10, 2011 12:00
CHARLESTON, SC, USA - It was third time lucky at the Family Circle Cup for Caroline Wozniacki as she won the Premier title for the first time, surviving some tough early challenges but easing past Elena Vesnina in the final, 62 63.
As she was still finding her feet on clay in her first event on the surface this year, the top-seeded Wozniacki ground out a 76(6) 76(9) win over No.15 seed Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in the third round, saving set point in each set; she then had another thriller in the quarters, coming from 1-3 in the second set and 2-4 in the third set to edge No.6 seed Yanina Wickmayer, 46 64 64.
Wozniacki really found her groove in the semifinals with a 64 64 win over No.3 seed Jelena Jankovic, who many thought would have a strong shot at an upset; in the final, an unseeded, No.56-ranked Vesnina just couldn't continue the giant-killing run she had gone on throughout the week, showing strong net skills but never getting too close to the upset over the No.1.
"I played aggressively today and everything worked for me," Wozniacki said. "I was able to adapt my game to the clay. It's the first tournament on clay so I'm very happy the way it turned out, and it gives me some confidence I can play well on clay as well. I beat some good players here, so I'm very satisfied."
This was Wozniacki's third time playing Charleston. In 2009 she was a runner-up to Sabine Lisicki and in 2010 she had to retire in the semifinals against Vera Zvonareva after rolling her ankle chasing down a drop shot.
Wozniacki won her third WTA title of the season (after Dubai and Indian Wells) and now has a total of 15 (10 of them are Premiers). She is 15-9 in finals.
Vesnina had a very special week herself. She took out a string of seeds to reach the finals - No.14 seed Bethanie Mattek-Sands, No.2 seed Samantha Stosur, No.12 seed Julia Goerges and No.11 seed Peng Shuai. That win over No.5-ranked Stosur, also the defending champion, was her first Top 5 win.
"Caroline really makes you play. You hit a lot of balls and then you get tired, and it didn't work for me that well like the whole week before," Vesnina said. "I would consider her the best player in the world. It's really tough to play against her, believe me. Sometimes you feel she's everywhere on the court.
"It's not like she was Serena with her powerful play and smashing everybody off the court, but she uses pace and the whole court and plays smart tennis."