herald

Sunday 24 September 2017

Wozniacki Dane and out in Oz

CAROLINE Wozniacki was knocked out of the Australian Open by big-hitting Belgian Kim Clijsters today in Melbourne, ensuring the women's game will have a new number one by the end of the year's first grand slam.

Clijsters has said this will be her last season on Tour and few rivals will be shedding any tears after her dismantling of Wozniacki (pictured right) suggested she could dominate women's tennis for years to come.

With Wozniacki's demise, three women can now lay claim to the crown -- Maria Sharapova, Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka.

Crowd favourite Clijsters, ranked 14th in the world, ended Dane Wozniacki's hopes of winning a first grand slam with a 6-3 7-6 win on another sweltering day at Melbourne Park.

The 28-year-old Belgian bounced around the court with abandon, and if the ankle she turned sickeningly over against Li Na in the last round was bothering her, it did not show.



ONE-SIDED

After a one-sided first set, Wozniacki looked down and out at 5-2 in the second but drew on all of her reserves to fight back and take it to a tiebreak.

The comeback only served to delay the inevitable, however, as the Belgian took the decider 7-4, sealing victory on her first match point with a forehand volley.

"It definitely didn't feel like being up a set and 5-2," the defending champion said in a courtside interview. "I was happy to get through and not go to a three-setter because it's so hot."

Elsewhere, the Belarusian Azarenka, who has a reputation for getting hot under the collar and letting her emotions get the best of her, showed her composed side against Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska in their quarter-final.

Despite going a set down, Azarenka kept control to pole-axe Radwanska in the second set and grind out the third for a 6-7 6-0 6-2 win.



MENTALLY

"I think I am a different player right now, especially mentally wise," Azarenka said.

"Today I really tried to forget about the first set and start from zero and really fight hard.

"I think that's the toughest thing out there.

"Especially when the weather is tough.

"Your mind is boiling and it's difficult to think."

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