Caroline Wozniacki and Sam Stosur both battled through tough three set matches in the second round of the China Open today, but while the Dane managed to emerge triumphant, the Aussie was sent packing.
Wozniacki, who had come through a two and three-quarter hour battle in her previous match against Chanelle Sheepers, went toe-to-toe for the same amount of time with Taipei’s Su-Wei Hsieh. At the end of a first set that saw four breaks of serve, Wozniacki had a 5-2 lead in the tiebreak, only for Hsieh to win five points and a row and take the set.
Losing such a closely fought set would be a demoralising experience for many players, but the Dane is nothing if not competitive. Fuelled by the desire to maintain her improved form since the WTA tour moved to Asia, Wozniacki stayed in contention throughout an equally close second set that also saw two breaks of serve for each player. This time, however, she held on to her lead in the tiebreak, taking it 7-3 and setting up a deciding set.
This proved to be a somewhat anticlimactic affair following the drama of the previous two hours. The 26-year-old Hsieh capitulated, winning only eight points in six games as Wozniacki romped to commanding finish. The 6-7, 7-6, 6-0 win was another draining contest for the former world number one, who is playing for the third consecutive week. Known as one of the best-conditioned players on tour, her fitness will be tested in her next match against fifth seed Angelique Kerber.
Sam Stosur and Julia Georges were playing in the other half of the women’s draw. The German led their head-to-head 2-1 going into the second round match, but all of these encounters had been tight contests. Today’s was no different, with the German prevailing in three sets 7-6 4-6 7-5.
Each player broke serve in the first set, which Goerges eventually won in a tiebreak. Stosur, who reached the semi-finals of last week’s event in Tokyo, battled back in the second set, and despite serving troubles, managed to break the German to take it 6-4.
The former US Open champion’s double faults continued to mount in the decider as the pair exchanged breaks on the way to 5-all. Georges held serve to put her opponent under huge pressure, and the Australian’s 14th double fault gave the 21-year-old break point for the match. She needed no further invitation, booking a third-round clash with Marion Bartoli.
Bartoli, along with Wozniacki, Stosur and Li Na, is aiming to do well enough over the next couple of weeks to secure the coveted eighth spot in the WTA year-end championships, held in Istanbul at the end of the month. There are upcoming tournaments in Osaka and Europe, but Beijing represents the best opportunity for these players to accumulate ranking points.