Wozniacki looks to continue her winning run and take No 1 spot
Monday 30 August 2010
Shino Tsurubuchi, who became the most famous line judge in tennis 12 months ago, is here again, but the woman who unleashed a torrent of abuse at her is not.
Serena Williams, whose foul-mouthed tirade and subsequent point deduction cost her the match against Kim Clijsters in last year's semi-finals, has not been seen on a court since cutting her foot on broken glass in a restaurant last month, meaning that Caroline Wozniacki will this week enter a Grand Slam tournament as No 1 seed for the first time.
Wozniacki, No 2 in the world, has plenty more at stake. If she wins here, the 20-year-old Dane will replace Williams as No 1 and will pocket $2.7m (about £1.74m) in prize money, including a bonus of $1m as the most successful player in the tournaments building up to the year's final Grand Slam event.
It is a good job Wozniacki thrives on a demanding schedule, having played more matches (91) than any other player last year. If she reaches the latter stages here she will have played six weeks in a row, having just won tournaments in Copenhagen, Montreal and New Haven, with a third-round defeat to Marion Bartoli in Cincinnati the only blemish on her record since Wimbledon.
Having played twice in a day to win the rain-delayed Montreal event on Monday, Wozniacki went straight to New Haven, where she won the title for the third year in a row on Saturday, beating Russia's Nadia Petrova 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
"I feel great," Wozniacki said on arrival here yesterday. "After Wimbledon I had five weeks off, where I didn't play anything and just practised, so it was a great feeling for me to get back on the court and back in the intensity of playing matches."
Wozniacki is seeded to meet Clijsters in a repeat of last year's final. Clijsters is on a 14-match winning streak here – she won last year in only her third tournament after coming out of retirement, having won the title in 2005 on her previous appearance – but has not gone beyond the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam event subsequently and has also had a hip injury.
With Justine Henin missing with an elbow injury, the only other former women's champions in the field are Venus Williams, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Maria Sharapova. Williams has her own fitness issues, having not played since Wimbledon, and Kuznetsova has not reached a Grand Slam quarter-final since last year's French Open, but Sharapova may be recovering the form that won her the 2006 title.
She has reached the final in both her tournaments since Wimbledon, losing in Cincinnati to Clijsters and in Stanford to Victoria Azarenka, who could be the dark horse to win here.
Elena Baltacha, who is first on court today against Croatia's Petra Martic, and Anne Keothavong are Britain's only women in the main draw. Laura Robson fell in the final round of qualifying, losing 6-2, 4-6, 3-6 to Nuria Llagostera Vives despite having led 3-1 in the final set.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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