US Open 2014: Caroline Wozniacki forgets troubles to sweep aside Maria Sharapova

Former world No 1 wins 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 to secure her place in quarter-final

Flushing Meadows

It has not been the easiest of times for Caroline Wozniacki, but the Dane enjoyed one of her finest victories here last night at the US Open. Wozniacki’s fall from the top of the rankings and the regular criticisms of her father and coach, not to mention the much-publicised ending of her relationship with Rory McIlroy, were all put aside as the former world No 1 beat Maria Sharapova 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 to secure her place in a Grand Slam quarter-final for the first time in more than two years.

The crowd here love Sharapova’s glamour and star quality, but by the finish they had got behind Wozniacki, 24, who has no doubt endeared herself to the locals by entering the New York Marathon. She has also enjoyed her greatest Grand Slam success here, having reached the final in 2009 and made the semi-finals on two other occasions.

Although the song “Sweet Caroline” blared out over the public address system at the end, there was a hard-nosed professionalism about Wozniacki’s victory. The mere presence of Sharapova can intimidate some players, but Wozniacki traded blows with the Russian from the baseline, complained to the umpire about the time her opponent took between serves and almost drove her to distraction with her ability to keep chasing down shots. She also showed a lovely touch at the net, which she regularly attacked.

The conditions on a hot, humid and windy day were not easy and the heat rule, which gives women a  10-minute break before the deciding set, was applied. Sharapova, who was given a time violation for returning to the court too late after the break, has an excellent record over three sets, but was outplayed.

Wozniacki, whose form has improved this summer, played a wonderful game to make a decisive break to love in the fourth game of the last set. Having gone 40-0 up after a thumping backhand pass and two beautifully constructed rallies, she won one of the points of the tournament, running down a succession of big shots before forcing Sharapova into an error.

“It means so much to me,” Wozniacki said afterwards. “It’s been a bit up and down this year for me, so this hard-court season has been great. To win today against a great champion is a great feeling.”

Serena Williams is now the only top six seed left in the competition. In the quarter-finals Wozniacki will play Sara Errani, who ended Mirjana Lucic-Baroni’s emotional run. The lop-sided statistics of Errani’s 6-3,  2-6, 6-0 victory told their own story. Lucic-Baroni, a big ball-striker who goes for her shots, made 46 winners and 69 unforced errors; Errani, a lightweight who puts her emphasis on defence, made just four winners and nine unforced errors.

Maria Sharapova was almost driven to distraction by her opponent Maria Sharapova was almost driven to distraction by her opponent (EPA)

“I have blisters, tapes, pain everywhere in my body,” Lucic-Baroni said, having played seven matches in the last 13 days, including three in qualifying. “I burned out a little bit today.”

Lucic-Baroni, who is the world No 121, said she had enjoyed the best two weeks she could remember for a long time. Victory over Simona Halep, the No 2 seed, had taken her through to the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time since 1999. The 32-year-old from Croatia spent several years outside the top level after fleeing to the United States from her abusive father. After her run here, she is expected to climb to around No 80 in the world rankings, which would be her highest position for 14 years.

“I have been fighting and battling through,” she said. “Not a billion dollars can compare to the feelings I felt in the last two weeks, fighting back and beating Halep and winning all my matches here, fighting from the dead basically. No money can ever buy that.”

David Ferrer, who had reached the quarter-finals or better of 10 successive Grand Slam tournaments until he arrived at Wimbledon this summer, became the first top 10 player in the men’s singles to lose here when he was beaten 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 by Gilles Simon.

News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Parker says: 'I once had a taster use the phrase 'smells like the sex glands of a lemming'. Who in the world can relate to that?'
food + drinkRobert Parker's 100-point scale is a benchmark of achievement for wine-makers everywhere
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing