Australian Open: Caroline Wozniacki resists Carla Suarez Navarro's challenge for her second semifinal

Caroline Wozniacki kept her hopes alive of returning to number one with her hard fought victory over Carla Suarez Navarro.

Australian Open: Caroline Wozniacki resists Carla Suarez Navarro's challenge for her second semifinal
Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images AsiaPac: Caroline Wozniacki celebrates her victory.
Caroline Wozniacki
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Carla Suarez Navarro

This was their first time meeting in a major and although Carla Suarez Navarro had won their last match, Caroline Wozniacki had the advantage of winning every encounter on hard court. With the 5:2 head-to-head in favor of the Dane, the odds were stacked against the Spaniard.

Yet the Spaniard was just as motivated as her opponent to gain the victory today at the Australian Open. Winning this match would make it the first time she had gotten to the semifinals of a major. For Wozniacki, the prize was bigger; a victory today would keep her in the running to regain the number one ranking.

Slow Start For Suarez Navarro

Both players have been tested this Australian Open. Wozniacki was on the brink of elimination in the second round and Suarez Navarro was almost ousted in the fourth round. Despite leading their head-to-head, Wozniacki knew this would be a battle and she came out sharp, she broke the Spaniard in her first service game and never looked back. Kept on her back foot the entire set, there was not much that the Spaniard could do to disrupt Wozniacki’s game in the first set.

Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty Images AsiaPac-Caroline Wozniacki served brilliantly the entire match.
Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty Images AsiaPac-Caroline Wozniacki served brilliantly the entire match.

 Suarez Navarro worked harder than her opponent to win her games and having played three consecutive three-set matches, the fatigue was apparent. However, she continued to battle. Late in the first set, she had a chance to win her first game of the match, but she sent the ball wide and could not recover.

Second Set Momentum Shifts

There was no letup in the game of the Dane. She continued her aggressive play; however, despite losing the opening set at love, Suarez Navarro kept fighting. The score was deceptive with many games getting to deuce and Suarez Navarro had break points but did not capitalize until the fifth game. Winning her first game gave Suarez Navarro the belief she needed and with a few more errors creeping into Wozniacki’s game, she broke at love and took a three-two lead.

Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images AsiaPac- Carla Suarez Navarro's backhand kept her in the match.
Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images AsiaPac- Carla Suarez Navarro's backhand kept her in the match.

 

She had chances to get an insurance break; however, two timely aces and Wozniacki held on. Wozniacki broke back and evened the set at 4-4. At 5-4, the Dane had an opportunity to win in straight sets; however, Suarez Navarro fought it off. The Spaniard forced a tiebreak and won it easily, forcing a deciding set.

Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images AsiaPac-Caroline Wozniacki hits a forehand winner.
Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images AsiaPac-Caroline Wozniacki hits a forehand winner.

Wozniacki Rises To The Challenge

After dropping the second set, Wozniacki regrouped nicely in the deciding set. The effort it took to win the second set took a toll and Suarez Navarro struggled to move in the third set and she was broken twice. Wozniacki is not known for having a big serve; however, a few timely aces bailed her out at critical moments. The number two seed made the impact with both her first and second serves. She won 70 percent on her first and 59 percent of her second serves. Her foot speed kept her in the rallies and her relentless attacking game finally wore the Spaniard down. Wozniacki secured the victory 6-0, 6-7(3), 6-2 in a little over two hours.