Roland Garros: Wozniacki d. Wozniak

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 /by

Cw As badly as Caroline Wozniacki appeared to give away her second set today, the similarly-named Aleksandra Wozniak gave it back. The world No. 1 won an admittedly tricky second-rounder, 6-3, 7-6 (6), but not without another series of shots that implores one to think, This is why she'll never win on the biggest stage.

Wozniacki played well in the opening set; Wozniak raised her game in the second. The Canadian hit out more and found her range, especially with her forehand, and forced the top seed to hold serve for a tiebreak. She did, though not before hitting the first of two you-could-have-hit-it-anywhere-but-there shots. A sure winner was lost when Wozniacki, in an advantageous position, put a ball right back at Wozniak when the entire court was easily accessible. The second instance came in the tiebreaker, with Wozniacki trailing 3-2. Wozniak hit a short ball in the middle of the court with too much loft; again, the Dane essentially had her choice of where her shot would go. Somehow, it ended up right back at Wozniak, who deflected it with a lob. Wozniacki put the ensuing overhead into net, falling behind 4-2, which soon became 6-3.

Wozniacki clawed her way out of this hole with her defense, as you might expect. Really good defense. But give Wozniak the assist. Down match point, the Canuck came to net after a steady diet of shots gave her the green light to move forward. With ample time, she kept her shot away from Wozniacki, but with little behind it. Wozniacki scampered, got her racquet on the ball and returned it to the open court. She advanced; Martina Navratilova couldn't believe the sequence on the post-game wrap.

In saving three set points and overcoming 24 unforced errors, Wozniacki must be commended for winning in straights. But we can't neglect to mention her spells of timid play and punchless tennis. It was enough today—more than enough, truthfully—but it's a risky proposition to try that same approach five more times.

—Ed McGrogan

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