Following her loss to Marion Bartoli this summer in Cincinnati, Caroline Wozniacki has willed her way to 13 straight wins and two premier titles en-route. Having garnered a lot of criticism for her style of play and approach to tennis, the Dane continues to prove that in the current state of the WTA, the qualities of resilience, mental strength and steadiness are a formula for considerable success. Since her defeat of Maria Sharapova in the 4th round, the top-seeded Dane has been the bookie’s favourite to capture her first slam this week. With two multiple slam champions still in the draw, it certainly was a bold move from all involved.
Vera Zvonareva, her semi-final opponent, will be hoping to make a mockery of the bookies later on today. Zvonareva herself has had a very rewarding 2010, highlighted by reaching her first Grand Slam Final at Wimbledon in July. Her efforts this week will be rewarded with a return to the top 5 for the first time since 2009, a season ruined in April by a horrific ankle injury.
Having dispatched Zvonareva only three weeks ago in the final of the Rogers Cup in Toronto with the loss of just 5 games, Wozniacki will have the clear advantage going into their match today. In that match, Wozniacki’s resilience and unflinching steadiness visibly unnerved the ever-unpredictable Zvonareva. The 26-year-old fell into perilously passive play and Wozniacki, with her superior weight of shot, easily dusted away the threat from her Russian opponent.
It’s not all bad news for Zvonareva, however. The conditions on Arthur Ashe court this week have been close to unplayable, with the massive unroofed stadium creating a fierce, swirling wind. In the notoriously windy tournament of Indian Wells 2009, the two met and Zvonareva, the far more intelligent player, ran out an easy winner.
Many are expecting an easy win for Wozniacki, who will as usual look to hit the majority of her shots deep and down the middle, prolonging points and waiting patiently for the inevitable error to com her way. Zvonareva is the far superior ballstriker however, and is completely comfortable in the forecourt. If the Russian approaches this match in an offensive mindset and looks to finish points off the net, while avoiding any of her trademark meltdowns, she is certainly in with a shot with advancing to her second Grand Slam Final of the year. But that’s a very, very big ‘if’ (especially with the meltdown thing). Wozniacki in 2.