The detractors of Caroline Wozniacki (I’m not quite sure where I sit on the ‘issue’) have plenty of fresh ammunition with the world number one failing to progress past the round robin stage of the WTA season-ending championships.
While it is not all bad news for the Dane, she is only the seventh woman to end the year ranked number one for two consecutive years, it is her performances that are most worrying.
The tournament started well for Wozniacki with a three set win over Agnieszka Radwanska 5-7 6-2 6-4 in her opening match but successive losses to Vera Zvonareva (4-6 6-2 3-6) and Petra Kvitova (6-4 6-2) have sent Wozniacki packing from Istanbul.
In non-ground breaking news Woznaicki’s main weakness is her lack of aggressiveness and her inability (reluctance) to hit winners. Yes tennis is about hitting the ball between the lines, something Wozniacki does very well, but against top class opposition the Dane’s playing style generally comes up short. Against Zvonareva Wozniacki hit a tidy 13 winners and 18 unforced errors but that was over three sets and her Russian opponent amassed 49 winners and 49 unforced errors. The match is on Zvonareva’s racket and for the world best’s player, at least world’s highest ranked player, that is not enough.
The same thing occurred against Kvitova with the Wimbledon champion simply having too much power and aggression for the Wozniacki. Wozniacki was ineffective behind the Czech’s booming leftie serve and could only win 17 points on Kvitova’s serve and had her own serve broken three times.
Kvitova is joined by Victoria Azarenka in the semi finals after the Belarusian trounced French Open champion Li Na 6-2 6-2 and US Open champion Sam Stosur by the same scoreline in her opening two matches. The world number four has been in hot form in the white group and is coming off a victory in Luxembourg last week. She will face Marion Bartoli, the alternate for the injured Maria Sharapova, is what is realistically a nothing game, as Azarenka is guaranteed to finish top of her group.
Sam Stosur and Li Na will face each other for a place in the semi finals. Stosur has a 5-0 career record against the Chinesewomen including three victories in 2011. Qualification from the Red Group is far more complicated. Agnieszka Radwanska needs just to take one set of Kvitova in order to secure her place in the final four. If she losses in straight sets however Vera Zvonareva will progress. The Russian world number six had three match points against the Polish world number eight but could not serve out the match up 5-3 40-15 in the third set, eventually losing 6-1 2-6 5-7 and now leaves her future in the tournament in other people’s hands.