Quarterfinal. Day 5. Caroline Wozniacki

Host Andy Taylor. Qatar Total Open 2018. Quarterfinal. Day-5. Caroline Wozniacki

Host. Andy Taylor. Qatar Total Open 2018 / Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography
[1] Caroline Wozniacki -01- (DEN) def [8] Angelique Kerber -09- (GER) 76(4) 16 63

Tonight’s victory took serious fitness from the new World #1. Aside from her staright-sets loss to Kasatkina in St. Petersburg, it was the toughest battle Caroline’s faced since besting Halep in Melbourne’s Final. In fact, it was nearly an identical match: She won the first in a tie-break, faded in the second, then scored a timely break in the decider to escape with the win.

After the victory, she learned during the on-court interview that Halep had withdrawn from the tournament, keeping Caroline’s World #1 ranking secure for the moment. Always measured, through her surprise, she simply descibed Halep as an amazing competitor. She wasn’t about to celebrate the news of an injury and her temporary good fortune.

While the withdrawal was obviously disppointing for tournament organizers, Caroline said she understood the importance of putting health above competition. But what a lucky turn of events for the World #4 Garbine Muguruza, who now gets a day of rest before the championship match on Sunday.

The Caroline vs. Angie Show

Tonight’s clash was the 14th between Wozniacki and Kerber. Angelique won their most recent battle 17-months prior, in the Semifinals of the 2016 US Open. Kerber won that match 64 63, then went on to capture her second Grand Slam title, in her third Major Final of the year.

Just like at the ’16 Open, tonight Kerber found herself up a break and serving for the first set. This time, Caroline was clutch. Kerber served well, but Wozniacki got every ball back. In a blink, we were at 5-all and headed for a tiebreak. In the breaker, Wozniacki jumped ahead 4-1 and allowed the German just 3 more points before stealing the set.

Set-2 was classic Kerber. Up-the-line Southpaw forehands and precision cross-court backhands left Caroline shaking her head. This was the Kerber accuracy of 2016. It was artistry, and she made it look easy. The first set took well over an hour. The second was done in 30-minutes.

In the third, Kerber had clear momentum and broke Wozniacki at love in game-1. Caroline was frustrated, missing everything. Down 0-40 in game-2, Wozniacki took her time switching racquets to gather herself. The pause button worked. She got it to deuce. Two intense, drawn-out rallies later, Caroline leveled the decider at 1-all. Game on.

At the 2-hour mark, it was 2-all, on-serve……then 3-all. Caroline held to make it 4-3, then scored the timeliest of breaks to gain the edge 5-3. One decisive service game later and Wozniacki reached the Qatar Total Open Semifinals for a third time.

Caroline’s Love Affair with Doha

Caroline Woznaicki has reached three career Finals on this court. In late 2010, she lost a tough 3-setter to Kim Clijsters during the WTA Finals. A few months later, as the World #1, she fell to Vera Zvonareva (#3) in the 2011 Qatar Total Open Final. Last year, she reached the championship match again, falling to Karolina Pliskova after a rain-soaked week that forced everyone to play their Quarterfinal and Semifinal matches on the same day.

Up Next: Petra Kvitova

If she’s to reach her fourth Final in Doha, Caroline is going to have to contain Petra Kvitova’s remarkable momentum. The inspiring Czech is now on an 11-match win-streak. After falling to Andrea Petkovic in the 1st-Round of the Australian Open, she won the title in St. Petersburg, scored a pair of Fed Cup victories over the weekend, and won four-straight to reach this year’s Semis.

The wins weren’t easy, either. Petra beat Wild Card Cagla Buyukakcay, Agnieszka Radwanska, World #3 Elina Svitolina and World #10 Julia Goerges to get to this point. She’s enjoyed the toughest draw of all three Semifinalists (Remember, Halep withdrew from the tournament).

Petra and Caroline have played 12-times over their careers. Petra has won seven of those matches, including their last three: the 2015 New Haven Semifinals, the 2nd-Round of the Summer Games in Rio, and last October in the China Open’s Round of 16.

Angelique Kerber

Yesterday, this 2-time Grand Slam Champion and Olympic Silver Medalist came back from a set-down to defeat World #11 Johanna Konta. In 2016, she was simply unbeatable – earning 12 of her 32 career wins over top-10 opponents. She captured her first Grand Slam Singles title at the Australian Open, reached the Wimbledon Final, earned Olympic Silver in Rio, won her second Major at the US Open, and claimed the World #1 Ranking for the first time. This year, she’s on a tear again. She started the season by winning her 11th WTA Singles title in Sydney, then reached her 6th career Grand Slam Semifinal in Melbourne to break back into the top-10. Overall, she spent 30-weeks as the sports top-ranked player, and comes into tonight’s Quarterfinal as the World #9. From Germany – Please welcome 2014 Qatar Total Open Finalist, Angelique Kerber

Caroline Wozniacki

Just 3-weeks ago, this 27-year-old won the biggest title of her career, capturing the 2018 Australian Open title. With the victory, she regained the World #1 ranking for the first time in 5-years, and has now held the sport’s top position for a total of 70-weeks. A 3-time Grand Slam Finalist, she started the new year by reaching her 51st career Singles Final in Auckland; and with the win in Melbourne, now owns 28 Singles titles in all. She’s qualified for the WTA Finals 5-times; and last November, captured the year-end championship with wins over four of the sport’s top-5 players. Remarkably, she’s reached 3 Finals on this court – at the 2010 WTA Finals, and the 2011 and 2017 Qatar Total Opens. From Denmark – Please welcome, the #1 Player in the World, Caroline Wozniacki