One of the most promising clashes of the third round at the Western and Southern Open sees Caroline Wozniacki facing Angelique Kerber in Cincinnati.
Could Cincinnati be the place where Kerber claims her first title of 2014? After all, Agnieszka Radwanska hadn’t won one before last week when she sidled, ninja-style, through the bottom half of the draw and then struck against Venus Williams in the final.
Kerber has already passed the first test, beating Ekaterina Makarova – a semifinalist in Washington D.C. and in Montreal – 6-4, 6-1 to reach the third round early on Wednesday. Now she faces Caroline Wozniacki, who booked her spot in the third round on Tuesday after recording wins over Magdalena Rybarikova and Zhang Shuai with identical 6-2, 6-3 scorelines.
Kerber leads the head-to-head with Wozniacki 5-3 and has generally dominated their history since its early stages, with Wozniacki winning just one out of six after beating Kerber in their first two encounters. Most recently in Eastbourne, Kerber prevailed in a tight match in the semifinals, winning 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-3.
But Wozniacki’s last win over Kerber – her only win over the German since 2011 – came on American hard courts at Indian Wells in 2013 and with both players on fine form, this should be a spellbinding encounter.
After a poor start to the season, some niggling injuries and some mediocre results, Wozniacki has been playing better in the past few weeks than we have seen her for some time – perhaps years. Her serving and returning, in particular, seem to have suddenly picked up and it’s seen her claim the title in Istanbul and reach the quarterfinals in Montreal, where she pushed Serena Williams harder in a 6-4, 5-7, 5-7 defeat than would have seemed possible judging on her form in the early months of 2014.
Wozniacki has never been beyond the quarterfinals in Cincinnati, while Kerber reached the final in 2012, losing to Li Na after beating Serena Williams and Petra Kvitova. Kerber has played marginally more in recent weeks – she reached the final in Stanford – but lost early in Montreal in an extremely high-quality three-set duel with Venus Williams. It’s really impossible to call, but if Wozniacki continues to play the way that she has done recently, she will make it very, very difficult for Kerber to get the win.
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Tag : Tennis