World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki did little to silence her critics yesterday as she struggled to win her singles match in Denmark’s 2-1 loss to Bulgaria at the mixed teams Hopman Cup in Perth.
The Dane, who is clinging to the top ranking in women’s tennis by 115 points and has been much maligned for failing to win a Grand Slam, made a host of unforced errors in her marathon clash against Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova.
Wozniacki’s grinding 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 win in 144 minutes against her 46th-ranked opponent gave Denmark the lead in the Group A tie, but Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov squared the ledger defeating Frederik Nielsen, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2.
The Bulgarians then came from a set down to win the deciding mixed doubles in a match tiebreak 3-6, 6-4, 10-1 to keep their Hopman Cup hopes alive.
Denmark can still reach the final if they beat the Czech Republic in their final tie tomorrow, when Wozniacki will face her first big test of this year against world No. 2 Petra Kvitova.
On Tuesday, French star Marion Bartoli reduced her opponent to tears as she demolished Australia’s Jarmila Gajdosova without dropping a game.
The ninth-ranked Bartoli, beaten by world No. 5 Li Na in her first singles match on Saturday, slaughtered a misfiring Gajdosova 6-0, 6-0 in just 52 minutes as France beat the host nation 3-0.
Gajdosova, ranked 33rd in the world, was in tears in the dying stages as her game fell apart.
Richard Gasquet secured the tie for the French with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 win over Lleyton Hewitt.