Caroline Wozniacki ousts top-seed Karolina Pliskova


Sun, Aug 13, 2017 - Page 11

Caroline Wozniacki made some changes this week to try to change her fortune in a city that has not been kind on the tennis front.

Personal driver? Not needed this time around. Same hotel as before? Switch that booking.

Wozniacki is not only winning in Toronto for the first time in her career, she is doing it against the world’s best.

The 27-year-old from Denmark outlasted top-ranked Karolina Pliskova 7-5, 6-7 (3/7), 6-4 in a rain-delayed quarter-final on Friday at the Rogers Cup.

The match ended just over five hours after the players took to the court in the early afternoon for the pregame warmup. The start was delayed for more than two hours and three more weather interruptions followed in the first set alone.

Actual on-court match time was 2 hours, 56 minutes, but it felt much longer.

“I just kept fighting and just kept doing my thing,” Wozniacki said.

In the deciding set, Wozniacki broke at love to pull even at 4-4. She then held serve and followed with another break to lock up a spot in the final four.

Next up is a showdown against Sloane Stephens of the US, who topped Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 1-6, 7-5 before the rain returned in the evening.

Pliskova was playing her first tournament as the world No. 1.

“She just put everything back,” Pliskova said. “Even my serves, even some of the groundstrokes. So it was tough for me to close it and I think it’s tough to play someone like” that.

Wozniacki had lost her opening matches in all four previous appearances on the WTA Tour’s Toronto stop. Montreal hosts the women’s Rogers Cup in alternate years and she has fared much better there, winning in 2010 and reaching the semi-finals in 2012.

After dropping the first three games of the opening set Friday, Wozniacki fought back by beating Pliskova at her own game.

She matched her powerful groundstrokes and started going for more winners to take the momentum.

On her heels a bit more, Pliskova’s unforced errors started to rise. She smashed her racket into the court when another miscue gave Wozniacki a 6-5 edge.

Wozniacki used an ace to win her sixth straight game and the first set.

“I just tried to stay steady,” she said. I “tried to take the ball on the rise and try to stay aggressive when I could and keep my serves aggressive too.”

Both players held serve through the second set with Pliskova pulling even in the match by taking the last four points of the tiebreaker.

Pliskova used a strong backhand crosscourt to earn the first break of the third set. She pulled ahead 3-2 as Wozniacki was forced wide and netted her return.

However, Wozniacki refused to buckle and breaks in two of the final three games gave her a semi-final berth and a 5-2 career head-to-head mark against Pliskova.

Two other quarter-finals were postponed.

Fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine faces fourth-seeded Spaniard Garbine Muguruza, while defending champ and second seed Simona Halep of Romania was to play Caroline Garcia of France.

In early doubles play, second-seeded Chan Yung-jan of Taiwan and Switzerland’s Martina Hingis dropped a 6-4, 6-4 decision to eighth-seeded Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany and Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic, while top-seeded Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina beat Lyudmyla Kichenok of Ukraine and American Nicole Melichar 6-4, 6-4.