There aren't many players in the U.S. Open Women's Draw who come in on more of a hot streak than Caroline Wozniacki. After her second straight New Haven title, Caroline is peaking at just the right time.
But her results in Slams so far this year have been mediocre at best. With third round exits in Melbourne and Roland Garros coupled with a fourth round performance at Wimbledon, Caroline is still seeking her first Slam quarterfinal.
She has gone from one extreme to the next in terms of opponents. At Wimbledon, she faced Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan, who was nearly twice her age.
Now at the U.S. Open, she can say something unusual. As one of the youngest players on tour at 19-years-old, there aren't many times she faces a player even younger than herself. That's exactly what freckle-faced Croatian Petra Martic is.
At 18, Petra has only played in one previous Slam draw, the French Open in late May.
But she stepped on to a packed Grandstand court to take on the ninth seed in any case, after a very convincing first round victory.
Caroline holds to begin the match, to the delight of the many "Caroligans" in the crowd. She has certainly built a large fan base not only in the New England area, but in the States as a whole. Only American players get that type of ovation after points won.
Very quickly, it became obvious that Martic wanted to play at the net. She mixed in drop shots, trying to bring Caroline to net, while also pushing forward herself. The variety, combined with a touch of power, saw her hold as well to even the match at one all.
Still, Caroline was not on top of her game yet.
A few missed shots gave an break chance to Petra, but Caroline saved it. Speaking of Martic's power, she is still not completely sure how to control it, as a handful of shots sailed deep. But she is still committed to getting forward and making Caroline defend.
Her game would be very well suited to grass. She is even playing some serve-and-volley tennis.
Down 2-1 in the set and serving at 30-15, Martic faced a huge point. Win it, and she would jump right back into the match. Lose it, and momentum swings back to Caroline. A 20-plus shot rally entirely from the baseline showed its importance, but it also showed why Petra didn't want to get into longer points.
Caroline was exponentially superior from the baseline and Martic knew she couldn't slug it out with her.
Now at 30-all, Petra shows her first signs of confusion, not knowing which approach to take. That slight hesitation led to several shy forehands, allowing Caroline the first break of the match.
Caroline serves once more, and Petra makes the decision that she wants to keep mixing in drop shots. But this time, Caroline is ready for them and isn't surprised to see it. The Croatian is going all-in to try and break back, but her aggression is met with staunch defense. Caroline holds again.
Now serving at 1-4, Martic only wants to make the set respectable. But that attempt is foiled too. After several double faults, a challenge on game point fails. She looks to the stands and appears to be completely lost. "What do I need to do to win a game? Just one game!"
Caroline falls behind 0-30, but reels off three straight points, setting up a set point with a superb ace out wide.
First Set: Wozniacki, 6-1.
- Martic leads Caroline 20-6 in unforced errors. That tells most of the story from the opening stanza. She is going for a little more, but also missing a good deal on shots she needs to make.
- Martic has struggled mightily to win points on her own second serve. She has a solid first serve, but her second could use some major work.
- The score line looked very simple for Caroline, but it was hardly as easy as it looks. Petra is forcing Caroline to hit excellent shots.
Petra begins the second set serving well and has a chance to hold, but she allows Caroline to get back in. After going back and forth in deuce, Caroline uses her first challenge on a cross-court backhand that she thought caught the line. She was right, and takes the break.
Although the age difference between the two players is less than a year, the difference in experience is very obvious. Martic is unsure of when to use the challenge system and has been wrong on all of her reviews so far. Wozniacki on the other hand, knows precisely when to challenge and when to save it.
A quick hold for Caroline makes it 2-0.
Martic serves well once more, but this time falls behind and never recovers. She shows her potential, with a couple superb forehands, but also shows her youth in important points. She has played well in points that mean very little, but seems to shrink in big moments.
Caroline is now 4-of-5 in break point chances on the match. Another easy hold on serve makes it 4-0.
All signs indicate that Petra is finished and has thrown in the towel. She doesn't show any signs of negativity, but shows no fire or care to push back into the set. Determined to enjoy her final few games on a larger court, she goes for several audacious shots.
But Caroline eases across the finish line with a service hold at love, completing the 6-0 final set.
Final Score: Wozniacki 6-1, 6-0.
- The match lasted a whole 57 minutes, as Caroline took the final 11 games.
- Martic committed 35 errors to seven for Caroline.
- Even more incredibly, Wozzy has lost one game in the past three sets, after defeating Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan in the first round 6-4, 6-0.
Caroline now will face good friend, No. 24 Sorana Cirstea in the third round. The two also met at the French Open, won by Cirstea. Caroline also was having shoulder pains throughout the match, but this time, there are no ailments.
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