Wozniacki Holds On, Edges Jankovic In QFs
Published May 13, 2011 12:00
ROME, Italy - Two of the best returners on the WTA went to battle in the quarterfinals of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Friday and it was Caroline Wozniacki who was steadier, sneaking past Jelena Jankovic, 63 16 63.
After the two split sets, the third set began with seven consecutive breaks - in the first four of those games the server never even had a game point on their serve. But it was the No.1-seeded Wozniacki who broke away with a hold of serve to go up 5-3, and then she broke the No.5-seeded Jankovic to seal it.
"I knew it wasn't going to be an easy one, but I'm getting more comfortable on clay," Wozniacki said. "You always prefer to win quickly and get off the court, but it doesn't matter if it's four hours or one hour - I'm just happy to get through."
Before this season, Wozniacki was 0-4 against Jankovic; she has beaten her all three times they've played this year. "The first four times she beat me, but some of them were three sets," Wozniacki said. "The last three I've been fortunate enough to win but it's getting tougher every time. We've been playing longer matches. We don't give away many free points so there are lots of long rallies."
Next up for Wozniacki is No.7 seed Maria Sharapova, who lost the first set but led in the second when No.3 seed Victoria Azarenka stopped the match due to a right elbow contusion, handing her a 46 30 retirement victory.
Sharapova has now reached the semifinals at this event the last three times she has played it, 2005, 2008 and 2011. During the 2008 run she beat Wozniacki. "She's No.1 in the world and a great clay court player," Sharapova said. "It's going to be a very physical match. She's someone that never misses a ball. It will be really important to be patient and aggressive when I have to be."
The other semi pits No.4 seed Li Na against No.6 seed Sam Stosur, after both won their quarterfinals in straight sets. Li was the first to advance, beating Greta Arn, 63 61. Arn, who had saved match points against Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elena Vesnina this week, did save three match points before falling.
"I've never won a clay court tournament so I'm glad to be in the semifinals for the second week in a row," said Li, also a semifinalist in Madrid last week. "My confidence is back and I'm happy to be playing my own game again."
Over on Centrale, in their first clay court match since last year's French Open final, Stosur beat No.2 seed Francesca Schiavone, 62 64. Stosur was spectacular on serve - she lost just 11 points in her nine service games.
"I think today was pretty close to the way I was playing last year," said Stosur, who went 20-3 on clay last year. "I played very well at the French Open last year and today I probably felt as close to that since then. But Li Na is having a good week. It's always going to be tough whenever you go on the court."
Stosur leads Li in their head-to-head series, 2-0, including a 63 63 win in their only clay court meeting, which came indoors in Stuttgart last year.