Saturday, April 6, 2013

Wozniacki upset by Voegele in Charleston quarterfinals

Stefanie Voegele (photo by Daniel Ward)

2011 Family Circle Cup champion Caroline Wozniacki, the number 2 seed this year, was defeated last night in Charleston by Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland. Both players got off to a bit of a slow start, but Wozniacki won the first set 6-4. And while it probably appeared to most fans that a quick straight-set victory was on hand for the Danish star, Voegele apparently hadn't gotten that memo. The Swiss player went on an aggressive mission against Wozniacki, forcing her to hit from awkward positions, and then nailing Wozniacki's returns right on the lines from both sides.

Stefanie Voegele (photo by Daniel Ward)
Voegele won the second set, 6-4. Wozniacki quickly went up 3-1 in the final set, but the unseeded Voegele refused to change her aggressive game plan. Several times, Wozniacki got herself out of trouble, even from 0-40 down, by staying in the point long enough to get an error from her opponent. But Voegele was playing the match of her career, and after getting the break back and holding for 3-all, she broke Wozniacki. And suddenly, the world number 63 was serving for the match at 5-3.

What we have come to expect at a moment like this is that a lesser-ranked player going against a star like Wozniacki starts to think too much when serving for the match, then gets tight, and then gets broken. The opportunity is gone, and the more experienced player gets on with the business of winning the match.

But that didn't happen in last night's quarterfinal. Voegele took a moment before she served, and stood behind the baseline on the deuce side, with her back to the net. Then she walked to the ad side and calmly served her way to 40-0. Wozniacki saved one match point, but then Voegele served one final ball that sped past her opponent, who made an attempt to hit it, whiffed it, and--just like that--the match was over.

Caroline Wozniacki (photo by Daniel Ward)
Given Wozniacki's recent performances, notwithstanding Indian Wells, the upset wasn't that surprising. Voegele had belief, and--just as important--she didn't let losing the first set cause her to back away from her aggressive style of play. She hit 41 winners and made 38 unforced errors. Both players had a positive winner-to-unforced error ratio (Wozniacki hit 32 winners and made 26 unforced errors).

Voegele will face 2007 champion Jelena Jankovic in the semifinals. The two have never played each other. Jankovic appears far more motivated than she did a year ago, and has skillfully played her way into the deep end of the tournament.

In Friday's other night match, the Australian team of Ashleigh Barty and Anastasia Rodionova defeated Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears 6-4, 3-6, 10-6. Barty and Rodionova will play Kristina Mladenovic and Lucie Safarova in the semifinals. Safarova is the defending doubles champion (she won last year with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova). In the other semifinal, top seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Liezel Huber will play Megan Moulton-Levy and Zhang Shuai.


Eric said...


Where you invited? That would have been so cool!

Diane said...

No--and because it was postponed, I didn't even get to see it.