Turning a corner: Caroline Wozniacki digs deep for needed US Open win over Svetlana Kuznetsova
The former world number one from Denmark fought back from 0-4 in the first set to beat the Russian to secure a place in the third round
Caroline Wozniacki’s sunny smile has never masked her deep determination, and the Dane has needed all of her grit to turn around the toughest season of her career.
She’ll be hoping that a 6-4, 6-4 upset of 2004 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second round of the US Open on Wednesday is a turning point in a 2016 campaign marred by injury and a precipitous drop in ranking.
Wozniacki, a former world number one, was two breaks down at 0-4 in the first set but won 12 of the next 16 games to advance.
“At one point, I was thinking we’ve being playing for 30 minutes,” said Wozniacki. “Right now, it’s 4-0 for her, this is not looking good for me. I just kept fighting for every point.”
The match could be a metaphor for her a 2016 season in which she missed three months nursing a right ankle injury.
Until arriving at Flushing Meadows, she’d endured nothing but disappointment in the year’s grand slams after falling in the first round in Australia and at Wimbledon and missing Roland Garros.
In characteristically optimistic fashion, Wozniacki said her enforced time off had an upside.
“When you’re home for a big amount of time you realise that life goes on and you kind of get a rhythm at home,” she said.
A photo posted by Caroline Wozniacki (@carowozniacki) on Aug 31, 2016 at 3:15pm PDT
“I was actually enjoying my time, making the most of the time that I had.
“I haven’t been able to be home for three months in a row for the last probably over 10 years. So, you know, if I have to look at the positive of things, that was a positive.”
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Wozniacki sparked speculation she might be considering her non-tennis options with a “Letter to My Younger Self” on The Players’ Tribune website last week.
“Tennis won’t last for ever, Caroline,” she told her 11-year-old self. “Plan for your future. Think about what you’d like to do next and take steps to set yourself up for a successful life after you play your last pro match.”
— Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) August 30, 2016
But Wozniacki said on Wednesday that she didn’t feel that her tennis life was coming to an end.
“I always had in my head that I just have to keep working hard and I’ll come back and hopefully play strong and play well,” she said.
“I knew that it’s not easy to come back, and especially, you know, you are going to get tough draws.
“I’m a player that needs matches to kind of get into the tournament. But I wasn’t thinking about quitting.”