Dellacqua Win Streak Rewarded With WCs
Published December 18, 2011 12:00
MELBOURNE, Australia - It has been tough times for Casey Dellacqua the last few years. After a breakthrough 2008 that saw her go as high as No.39, she has been pushed out of the Top 200 the last two years thanks to shoulder and foot injuries - but in the fall of 2011 she has built some major momentum.
After a first round loss at the US Open, Dellacqua headed back to Australia ranked No.274, a far cry from her former Top 40 status. But after going 30-0 in six ITF Pro Circuit tournaments in her home country - yes, 30-0 - she has cut her ranking in more than half, currently No.133 on the December 19 rankings.
The 30-match winning streak, which brought her titles at Cairns, Darwin, Esperance, Kalgoorlie, Traralgon and Bendigo, broke a nine year record for consecutive wins on the ITF Pro Circuit, and she won 27 of those matches in straight sets, coming from a set down to win three of those (against Turkey's Pemra Ozgen, New Zealand's Sacha Jones and Britain's Melanie South).
Thanks to the streak, Dellacqua has been awarded wildcards into Brisbane, Hobart and the Australian Open - a full schedule for the Aussie summer.
"After missing most of 2010 with a foot injury I have spent this year building on my confidence and match practice," the 26-year-old Perth native said. "I now finally feel like I am playing some good tennis and with six Pro Tour event wins under my belt I have the confidence I needed going into the summer.
"It is an amazing opportunity to be able to play the Australian Open, Brisbane and Hobart without having to worry about qualifying, and it is really going to set me up for the year ahead. It's nice to know my summer is set and hopefully I will get a few more wins and gain even more confidence going into Melbourne."
Dellacqua's career-best season in 2008 included particularly strong showings at the Slams, reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open and third rounds at the French Open and Wimbledon. She also reached the women's doubles final at the French Open. In 2011 she showed she still has a penchant for raising her game at the Slams, winning the mixed doubles at the French.
All of that can only be encouraging with her home Slam just around the corner.
"I'm really happy with where I am at. I'm hitting the ball well, serving great and doing all the things I should be doing. I feel good and I am looking forward to some tough competition in January," she said. "My goal is to get back into the Top 100 next year and then once I'm back inside there, I will re-assess. This will just help me speed up that process. I am really excited and pleased to be rewarded with these wildcards and plan to make the most of the opportunity."