Sharapova and Wozniacki face glamour match

Their third-round matches yesterday were hardly the best of advertisements for women's tennis, but when Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki meet here tomorrow it will be one of the most eagerly anticipated contests so far at this year's US Open.

Having brushed aside their opponents for a combined loss of one game – Sharapova crushed Beatrice Capra of the United States 6-0 6-0 while Wozniacki beat Yung-Jan Chan of Taiwan 6-1 6-0 – the 23-year-old Russian and the 20-year-old Dane will now concentrate their energies on a battle between two of the players most fancied to win the title next weekend. Sharapova has won their only two previous meetings, both in 2008, but the two women have gone in very different directions in the last two years.

Wozniacki, the runner-up here 12 months ago, has been on fire this summer. Since losing in the fourth round at Wimbledon she has lost only once in 19 matches and won titles in Copenhagen, Montreal and New Haven. And if she wins here she will replace Serena Williams at the top of the world rankings.

Sharapova, the world No 17, has been rebuilding her career since undergoing shoulder surgery. It has been a long haul, but the 2006 US Open champion has looked good of late. In her two tournaments since Wimbledon she reached the final at both Stanford and Cincinnati, losing to Victoria Azarenka and Kim Clijsters respectively.

Sharapova dropped a set to Jarmila Groth in the first round here, but never looked in any danger against Capra, an 18-year-old who had never played a match at tour level before last week.

Wozniacki's one fear against Sharapova might be that she was barely tested in the first week. The Dane has dropped a total of three games in her first three matches.

"I think the next match will be a totally different match," Wozniacki said. "When we go out there, we both have a 50 per cent chance of winning. I just need to get those percentages for me."

Sharapova appreciates the size of her task. "She can run all day and gets a lot of balls back and makes you hit tons of balls," the Russian said. "She changes the pace really well and gets her opponents off-balance. She does many things well. That's why she's at the top of the game."

A match between two of the game's most glamorous women is sure to see hordes of photographers descend on the court. Asked whether she had ever regarded Sharapova as a player she would like to emulate in terms of her image, Wozniacki said she had looked more to Anna Kournikova.

"I definitely wanted to be like her," Wozniacki said. "I thought she was very pretty. She was handling everything really nicely. You saw her everywhere in the commercials."

Jelena Jankovic, who made her only appearance in a Grand Slam final when she lost to Serena Williams here two years ago, was beaten 6-2 7-6 in the third round by the Estonian Kaia Kanepi.

The 25-year-old Serb blamed the tricky conditions, with the unforced error count – 41 by Jankovic and 37 by Kanepi – acting as evidence of the havoc left by Hurricane Earl, which has been sweeping up America's east coast.

"The wind was really tough," Jankovic said. "I had a really hard time hitting the balls. They were going all over the place."

Meanwhile Jankovic's fellow Serb, Ana Ivanovic, has failed to reach the quarter-finals of her last nine Grand Slam tournaments, but there are signs that the former world No 1 is returning to the form that saw her win the French Open two years ago.

Ivanovic made the semi- finals in Cincinnati last month, has climbed back to No 40 in the world rankings from a five-year low at No 65 two months ago and has not dropped a set in the first three rounds here.

Today, however, Ivanovic faces the toughest possible task when she comes up against Clijsters, who is the defending champion here.

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen