Wozniacki falls to Italian hit job

Twenty-one-year old qualifier Camila Giorgi knocks out sixth seed 4-6,6-4,6-3 in the third round

Written by Reuters | New York | Published: September 2, 2013 1:09:10 am

The former World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki’s streak of early Grand Slam exits continued on Saturday,when she was eliminated in the third round of the United States Open.

The eighth-ranked Wozniacki,who had spent 67 weeks as the world’s top-ranked player but has failed to capture a major tournament title,had not been able to advance out of the fourth round at the season’s previous three Grand Slams.

The Open appeared to offer her best opportunity to play deeper into the tournament and quiet some of her doubters. She had dispatched Ying-Ying Duan of China and cruised past Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa in the first two rounds,and the draw had developed nicely for Wozniacki,who next faced the 136th-ranked Camila Giorgi. If she could get by Giorgi,she would not face a higher-seeded opponent until the semifinals at the earliest.

But Giorgi,a 21-year old qualifier from Italy,was an aggressive ball-striker who could cause her headaches. From the start,Giorgi challenged Wozniacki on her way to a 4-6,6-4,6-3 victory at Arthur Ashe Stadium,and sent Wozniacki to another early exit.

The seventh-seeded Roger Federer restored some order to the night session breezing past Adrian Mannarino of France,6-3,6-0,6-2,in 1 hour 21 minutes.

Early on it appeared Wozniacki might also have an easier night. In the first set,when Giorgi hit the net at 4-4 and gave Wozniacki a break point,Wozniacki held her left fist high and firm,appearing energized. She won the set,and it seemed then that she would maintain control.

But Giorgi charged back in the second set,hitting 17 winners to Wozniacki’s 2. Giorgi began to dictate the pace of the match. She had the speed to track down Wozniacki’s returns,the power to beat Wozniacki with her forehand,and the energy to keep it up.

“She put me under pressure and I started to play a little short,and then all of a sudden she was all over the ball,” Wozniacki said,adding,“She was going for the lines and she was hitting them when she wanted to.”

Giorgi controlled the third set the same way,ending the match with a strong forehand down the line that Wozniacki could only lunge at. Now it was Giorgi who pumped her fist,and Wozniacki waved halfheartedly,clearly dejected,as she left the court.

Giorgi smiled wide as the crowd cheered. She will next face fellow Italian Roberta Vinci,the No. 10 seed,with a berth in the quarterfinals at stake.

Asked why she thought she won,Giorgi said the reason was tactical. Asked to explain her tactics,she said,“Just when the ball came,just hit the ball in the corners.”

She added,“I hope to stay like this for the last week.”

Wozniacki exited in the first round at the Open last year,as she dealt with a right knee injury. It was yet another disappointment,after she had lost in the first round at Wimbledon that year,and after she had reached the semifinals at the Open the two previous years,in 2011 and 2010,and the final in 2009.

Wozniacki has not advanced to the semifinals of a Grand Slam since she did so at the Open in 2011,a trend she had hoped to change this season.

Evans’ fairytale ends

The one-sided victory moved Federer,the greatest Grand Slam men’s title winner of them all with 17,into a fourth-round clash with Spain’s Tommy Robredo,who earlier beat British qualifier Dan Evans. The 32-year-old Swiss has won all 10 of his previous matches against Robredo.

Federer might not want to get ahead of himself,no matter how quickly he moves past opponents,but it was hard not to notice that he was now one step away from a potential quarter-final showdown with rival Rafael Nadal.

Strange as it may seem for rivals who have squared off 31 times over their careers,five-times US Open champion Federer has never played 2010 winner Nadal at Flushing Meadows.

“I think I only start really focusing on it once I’m really right there,like the moment I would win my next round and he did the same.”

Earlier in the day,when the sun was at its hottest,Nadal turned on his own masterclass to brush aside Croatia’s Ivan Dodig 6-4,6-3,6-3 and lead a trio of Spanish men into the fourth round.

While Federer and Nadal cruised into the next round,a feisty Victoria Azarenka dropped her first set of the tournament before recovering to book her place in the last 16 of the women’s draw. A finalist last year and one of the favourites to win the title this season,the world number two and reigning Australian Open champion overcame a shaky start to beat Alize Cornet of France 6-7(2) 6-3 6-2.

French Open runner-up David Ferrer also moved through,beating Mikhail Kukushkin 6-4,6-3,4-6,6-4.

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