Wozniacki unruffled by demotion

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The Independent Online

Caroline Wozniacki's reign as world No 1 ended yesterday, but as she prepared for her opening match here at this week's Dubai Duty Free Championships the 20-year-old Dane was accentuating the positive.

"I don't really think about the ranking," Wozniacki said. "At least I won't get asked the same question over and over again: 'How does it feel to be No 1 without winning a Grand Slam?' I really don't feel any difference. The sun is shining, I'm playing the same way and I'm still here to compete in the tournament and try to win it."

Wozniacki, who first plays Anna Chakvetadze or Daniela Hantuchova, will reclaim the world No 1 position from Kim Clijsters if she reaches the semi-finals, but insisted that she rarely looks at the rankings at this stage of the season.

"At the end of the year you always see who was the No 1, who played the best in the whole year," she said. "You also want to make it to the year-end championships, but it's honestly not until then that I really look."

Wozniacki said it had taken a few days to get over her disappointment at losing in the Australian Open semi-finals, when she failed to take a match point against Li Na, but added: "I'm in good shape and good form. This is a really tough tournament because almost all the top players are playing. There are no easy matches. I just need to go out there and give it a shot."

Britain's Elena Baltacha went out on her Dubai debut, losing 7-6, 6-4 to Romania's Alexandra Dulgheru, the world No 30, after failing to take her chances. Dulgheru served at 4-5 and 0-40 in the first set and was broken to go 4-3 down in the second, but on both occasions the 21-year-old Romanian kept her nerve before taking control.

"She hit a couple of big serves to save the first two set points and then I put a backhand long, but even when we got to the tie-break I felt I was the better player," Baltacha said afterwards. "I didn't start well in the second set, but I got back into the match and then just got a bit passive. It was very frustrating.

"I'm disappointed because it was the second tournament in a row where I've lost after I felt I had my opponent by the throat. Last week in Pattaya I had a point to go 5-3 up and serve for the match [against Peng Shuai] and didn't take it."