Caroline Wozniacki has the opportunity to become the World No.1 by the end of Thursday’s play. The Dane, currently 2nd, needs to better Simona Halep’s result to leapfrog her in the rankings. That challenge begins with the unseeded Elise Mertens in the semi-final of the women’s tournament. Mertens will be hoping to follow in her fellow countrywomen’s footsteps with Justine Henin (04) and Kim Clijsters (11) both titlists since the turn of the century.
Mertens’ winning streak has now been extended to 10 after a destruction of Elina Svitolina in the previous round, 6-4 -0. “She’s a great mover, she’s a really strong player. She started well at the beginning of the year so I knew it was going to be tough. So I tried to play aggressive, make her move, come to the net a bit more – just tried to play aggressive on the court.” Mertens said on her strategy during the match. While it appears Svitolina was carrying a hip injury during the match, Mertens executed her game plan perfectly where others had failed.
Wozniacki ensured that she would not fall on a day of shocks on Tuesday although she did need three sets to see off the threat of Carla Suarez Navarro in the end. She won the first set without losing a game but got dragged into a third after losing a tiebreak. Wozniacki outlasted the Spaniard in the decider, winning 6 of the last 7 games to move on to the next round. “I just had to get myself together, take a deep breath, then try to stay close to the baseline in the third set. I felt like I had a little bit more energy than she did in the end.” she said.
“I have to serve well, return well, stay aggressive, make her move.” Wozniacki said of her plan to beat Mertens. Their only meeting came last year in the Bastad semi final. On that occasion, Wozniacki was victorious in a tight three setter. Mertens continues to improve though and will be at a career high ranking after the tournament. That could be her current projected position of 20 or a spot in the top 10 if she wins the tournament.
Prediction – Caroline Wozniacki in three sets