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WTA Tennis • Caroline Wozniacki Completes Biggest Run

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark holds up the Billie Jean King trophy after defeating Venus Williams of the USA in their final match of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals 2017 held at the Indoor Stadium in Singapore, 29 October 2017. EPA-EFE/WALLACE WOON

 

 

Caroline Wozniacki knows all about committed runs.

 

Three years ago, Wozniacki braved a chilly Sunday morning running the New York City Marathon in an impressive time of 3:26:23—even more notable given the part-time Manhattan resident had never run more than 13 miles in her life.

 

A determined dash helped Wozniacki cross a long-awaited finish line in Singapore today.

 

Sliding a running backhand pass down the line, Wozniacki completed a 6-4, 6-4 conquest of Venus Williams to capture the biggest title of her career at the WTA Finals.

 

Winless in seven prior career clashes with Williams, Wozniacki beat the 37-year-old icon for the first time in their eighth meeting in her eighth final of the season.

 

“Eight is my lucky number, I thought if I’m gonna beat her at least once in my career it has to be today,” Wozniacki said. “I don’t know. I just want out there and did my best.”

 

It is the 27th career title for the 27-year-old Wozniacki, who raced out to a 6-4, 5-0 lead only to see a gallant Williams reel off four consecutive games to close the gap considerably.

 

Singapore is by far the sweetest for Caroline, who defeated three current or former world No. 1 players—year-end No. 1 Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova and Williams—en route to the championship that came seven years after Wozniacki fell to Kim Clijsters in the year-end finale.

 

In a fitting touch, Clijsters presented Wozniacki with the championship trophy today.

 

“It’s really sweet,” Wozniacki said. “It’s amazing. I couldn’t feel any happier right now.”

 

The former marathoner’s legs and ability to extend points were weapons on the slower Singapore surface.

 

Wozniacki made Williams play a physical price in longer exchanges.

 

Playing for her 50th career title, Williams’ late-match surge saw her come within a couple of points of forging a 5-all deadlock. Ultimately, Wozniacki was quicker to the ball and played with more precision.

 

The sixth-seeded Dane committed just eight unforced errors, compared to 32 for the fifth-seeded American.

 

Drained by her three-set semifinal victory over Caroline Garcia yesterday, the oldest WTA Finals finalist revved her competitive engine gallantly, but couldn’t catch Wozniacki.

 

“I tried my best,” Williams said. “I didn’t seem to come up with my best tennis until it was a little too late. I’ll try to come up with my best earlier next time it might be a good plan.”

 

While Wozniacki’s quick counter-punching skills earned her the nickname “The Golden Retriever” in her younger years, she made a career breakthrough in Singapore showing a more nuanced and complete game.

 

Showing more sting on her serve, the 5-foot-10 baseliner matched Williams’ ace output (four) in the final, out-aced WTA ace leader Pliskova in the semifinals, led the tournament in aces and frequently used the slider serve out wide to set up her first strike.

 

Wozniacki, who has worked with Serena Williams’ former hitting partner, Sascha Bajin, as her co-coach, hit her forehand down the line with more authority and kept the ball moving corner to corner effectively.

 

And though she retreated into prevent defense mode failing to serve out the championship twice, Wozniacki’s backhand down the line sealed a spirited one hour, 29 minute victory.

 

The marathoner crossed the finish line with a first at last.

 

“I’m still shaking,” Wozniacki told Andrew Krasny afterward. “I was up 5-0, I was playing well, everything was going well. All of a sudden Venus started upping her game. She went for her shots, she started serving to my body and I’m just so happy I managed to win at the end.”

 

Editors Note: On court television announcer Andrew Krasny adds so much to every match and tournament he does. He has a great sense of humor and exudes great warmth and understanding of the players feelings as a battle on court has JUST finished. He is very witty , sensible and thoughtful. He is even the kind if guy you can buy a used car from.

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