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Wozniacki Comes Back From 5-1, 40-15 Down In Third Set To Outlast Fett At Australian Open 2018

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark celebrates her win against Jana Fett of Croatia during the second round on day three of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 17 January 2018. EPA-EFE/TRACEY NEARMY

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

It remains to be seen if Caroline Wozniacki has nine lives at this year’s Australian Open. But the world No. 2 has at least two, because she used up one of them on Wednesday afternoon.

 

Wozniacki staged a stunning comeback in a second-round thriller at Melbourne Park, digging out of a 5-1, 40-15, double match point hole in the third set to survive Jana Fett 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 after two hours and 31 minutes. Wozniacki saved both of the match points in the seventh game of the decider and never looked back.

 

“Well, I was thinking at that point she still has to win four more balls to win this match, and don’t make it easy for her,” the second-seeded Dane replied when asked what she was thinking down 5-1 in the fifth. “At 5-1, 40-15, I felt like I was one foot out of the tournament. [Fett] served a great serve down the T, as well. It was just slightly out. I was kind of lucky.

 

“Then I felt her tighten up just slightly. I thought to myself, ‘You know what, at this point, make her win it, don’t give it to her.’ When I managed to win it to 5-2, I said, ‘Okay, I’m still alive. She still has four more balls to win in a row or in the game.’ I was like, ‘Just try and stay aggressive.’ That was that.”

 

There was still a little bit more work to do, but the hardest work was done. After breaking at 1-5 to stay alive, Wozniacki was off to the races. Not one of the contest’s final five games went to deuce, with the veteran holding easily three times and adding breaks in the ninth and 11th games of the final set.

 

“Yeah, definitely,” she assured after being asked if this was one of the best comebacks of her career. “I’m very proud of the way I came back. It was definitely very difficult. (It) definitely wasn’t my best match, especially in the beginning. It was very different conditions. I just tried to mentally stay focused; tried to play my game. It was very hard, and she was playing well.

 

“All of a sudden seeing myself down, almost out of the tournament, I started playing better and started really playing the tennis that I wanted to play.”

 

If he play was up and down, or more like down and then up, her determination never wavered. It was the kind of display that the never-say-die Wozniacki has produced throughout her career. Although she would never claim to be the most naturally talented player, Wozniacki is the quintessential fighter.

 

When asked about where she gets her fighting spirit, Wozniacki responded, “Growing up, I never wanted to lose. And the worst was to lose to my brother. Giving him the opportunity to be ahead, being able to talk shit to me–sorry for the word–was not pleasurable.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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