Wozniacki Ignores Love Advice And Advances

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – The Williams sisters are a great resource for any tennis player. After all, they have seen it all on the courts. Been there, done that.

When it comes to relationship advice…well take it with a grain of salt.

No. 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki learned that today before her second round win over Danish native Arantxa Rus, 6-2 6-1.

“Well, we were all in the locker room,” she said.  “I was going to get some treatment.  She was sitting there with Venus and talking.  And then, I don’t know, it just came out that we were talking a bit and we had a laugh.  We were just kidding around a little bit.

“I think I should not listen to her or Venus (laughter).  She was not better.”

The Great Dane has very open about her relationship with Irish golfer Rory McIlvoy. It’s been in all the papers and the US Golf Open Champion has been attending Wozniacki’s matches last week in New Haven. With her own US Open at hand can her love life become a distraction?

Not so, said the 21 year-old.

“Well, tennis is my first priority and I’m focused on the tennis when I’m on court, that’s for sure,” she said.   “You know, what I do off the court, I know that I’m a public person, so a lot of things will be seen by the public.

“But, you know, I don’t really think about it.  You know, I think we have our limits and we know where they are.  So as long as we both keep the feet on the ground and, you know, we both have our careers, which are important to us, I think it’s working well.”

With that out of the way, Wozniacki is focused on her third round match against American Vania King.

“She’s definitely getting a lot of balls back,” Wozniacki said if King. “It’s important to stay aggressive, but not too aggressive.  You know, I just need to dictate, but have control over the points.

“She’s definitely a player that is not easy to beat.  So I’m looking forward to the match, and hopefully it can be a good one.”

And you can be sure Rory will be watching.

Tashkent (Sat): Alla On Top In Tashkent

September 20-26, 2010

Results – Saturday, September 25, 2010
Singles – Final
(7) Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS) d. (4) Elena Vesnina (RUS) 64 64

Doubles – Final
Panova/Poutchek (RUS/BLR) d. Dulgheru/Rybarikova (ROU/SVK) 63 64

Final Facts
– Kudryavtseva wins her first career Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title; last week she reached her first career final in Guangzhou (l. to Groth); before last week she had never been beyond the quarterfinals of a Tour event.
– Vesnina fell to 0-4 in career finals (2009 Auckland, 2009 New Haven, 2010 Istanbul, 2010 Tashkent).
– Panova and Poutchek win their first Tour doubles title together; Poutchek wins her seventh Tour doubles title, Panova wins her first Tour title of any kind.

Final Quotes
Alla Kudryavtseva, 2010 Tashkent Open singles champion:
“I was nervous today. I didn’t expect to win. It was a high pressure situation. My serve helped me more than anything else. I got it in big and it helped a lot. The score line made it look like an easy final, but it wasn’t.”

“I will be back to defend my title. I’d prefer to go to a place where I feel at home, and here there are so many people who speak Russian. Moreover, one must go back to tournaments they win, as it brings back the happy memories from the year before. So even if I’m ranked higher next year, I will return to defend my title.”

Elena Vesnina, 2010 Tashkent Open singles runner-up:
“I didn’t play as well as I did the whole week but I congratulate Alla on winning her first title. Alla played amazing tennis today.”

Elena and Stasur To Meet In the Fourth Round

Elena Dementieva has been to the US Open final before. Samantha Stosur is striving to get there. They will square off for a spot in the US Open quarterfinals in a clash of one of the best hard-court returners in the women’s game, Dementieva, against one of the most reliable servers in Stosur.

The 12th-seeded Dementieva deconstructed Daniela Hantuchova, 7-5, 6-2, to advance to the fourth round for the eighth time in 12 career Flushing Meadows appearances. Dementieva lost to Caroline Wozniacki in the New Haven semifinals and has continued her solid form in Flushing Meadows this week in winning all six sets she’s played.

French Open finalist Stosur smacked seven aces in sweeping Sara Errani, 6-3, 6-2. Since surrendering the first set of her opening-round 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-1 win over Elena Vesnina, Stosur has not dropped a set.

Dementieva has beaten Stosur four times in five meetings, including a 6-7(3), 6-1, 6-3 victory in their last meeting in Toronto last summer. Three of those five matches have spanned the three-set distance.

“We’ve had some good matches in the past.  I’ve beaten her once or twice, and then she’s obviously beaten me, as well,” Stosur said.  “So I think it’s gonna be whoever can, you know, execute the game plan better on the given day. But I know what I’m gonna want to do against her.  If I can do that, I think I have a chance.”

Dementieva has worked diligently to transform her serve from the side-arm, slingshot slice it was when she reached the 2004 US Open final, falling to Svetlana Kuznetsova, and though her serve is not a weapon it has become a much more stable shot.

Stosur is at her best hitting the kick serve to set up her favored forehand and in past matches Dementieva has tried to prevent the muscular Aussie from creating one-two combinations off her serve and forehand by directing her inside-out forehand to Stosur’s weaker backhand wing.

The fact that Stosur will hit the kick on both first and second serves can pose problems for some women, who are unaccustomed to returning off shoulder high balls.

“Samantha, Serena, they both have a very powerful serve, and especially second serve,” Dementieva said. “They have such a good kick.  The women don’t usually have this. It’s always very difficult to play against her.  She puts a lot of pressure on you when she’s serving.  But also, I think she’s very solid on the baseline, and, you know, very experienced player, singles and doubles. She covers the court very well and, you know, can finish the point at the net.  She has a great variety to her game.  It’s never easy to play against her.”

Rich Pagliaro is the editor of TennisNow.com.

Eternal Sunshine of Caroline’s Mind

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – You can’t blame Caroline Wozniacki for being happy. After winning in Montreal and then New Haven, she is on a roll.

And now she cruised into the third round of the US Open, losing only two games in the first round to Chelsey Gullickson, 6-1 6-1,  and now the shutting out Kai-Chen Chang, 6-0 6-0.

Yes, it was just another day at the office for the Danish beauty.

“The expectations maybe from the outside has changed, but from myself I always go into a tournament and I want to win it,” she said.  “Doesn’t really matter what tournament I’m playing, and I always believe in myself.  It’s not always possible to win every tournament, but at least I give it a shot.

“You know, the only time I get disappointed with myself is if I feel like I haven’t given 100%.  You know, I’m almost always giving 100%.  It’s just about if I lose a match, okay, the opponent was just playing better than me that day, and I need to get back and work harder and be better for next time.”

Wozniacki is now the No. 1 seed with Serena Williams out of the tournament. She is no longer below the radar, like she was at during the first week of last year’s US Open where she was overshadowed by the Melanie Oudin story and then Kim Clijsters, who beat her in the final.

“Well, the atmosphere here is great,” she said.  “I really love playing here.  I mean, it’s a great feeling.  Also coming back from last year, you know, being in the finals, coming back here and just, yeah, playing on the big courts, it’s a great feeling.”

Her run comes after the 20 year-old injured her ankle after the Wimbledon, she took a few weeks off to get healthy, which essentially recharged her batteries, allowing her to make this run.

“Yeah, I mean, I’m that type of person that I like to do everything 100%,” she said.  “If I don’t feel like I’m practicing 100%, it makes me frustrated a little bit, when I have to take care of myself, you know, where I have to take care of my body.

“You know, Charleston was, yeah, it was tough, you know.  I got that ankle injury and wasn’t feeling great.  I had to take care of myself.  You know, it’s tough when I’m used to doing so much fitness off the court, and I really couldn’t do that.

“It was great for me to have that time off after Wimbledon, and that’s where I really started to feel like my ankle was feeling 100% and I could really practice 100% and go to sleep and feel, okay, today I’ve really done what I had to do.  That’s the way I need to progress.

“It’s bringing out the results, and I’m really, really happy now.  You know, hopefully I can just stay injury‑free and keep improving.”

And now she’s looking to win her first major, even though her bracket looks tough and a potential meeting with Sharapova looms, Wozniacki’s confidence is strong.

“My body is feeling great,” she said.  “I’m feeling fine.  I had those five weeks after Wimbledon where I just practiced, and actually that’s ‑‑ I almost feel like that’s harder than playing matches.  I really like playing matches.

“I would like to get into that rhythm.  Especially when you’re winning, you have that confidence.  You go out on the court and you know what to do.  You’re in your own bubble.  That’s what I’m aiming for.”