Risin’ Shine: Caro Wozniacki new No.1
Originally published on: 07/10/10 22:31
Caroline Wozniacki is set to become the 20th player to top the WTA rankings on Monday after reaching the quarter-finals of the China Open.
The 20-year-old, the first Danish player to top the world rankings, will dethrone Serena Williams after beating Petra Kvitova 6-3 6-2 in Beijing.
In an added twist, hours after Wozniacki’s victory the 13-time Grand Slam champion announced her own imminent return to action, having been absent from the Tour since winning Wimbeldon back in July.
The PA system played Tina Turner’s ‘Simply the Best’ to mark the moment Wozniacki clinched the victory that guaranteed her ascent to top spot next week.
“Being No.1 has always been a dream for me,” she told the crowd at the Beijing Olympic Tennis Center after being presented with a wreath in the shape of a No.1.
She becomes the 20th woman to top the standings since their introduction in 1975 – and the third player in the last two years to have reached the pinnacle of tennis without winning a Grand Slam title. Jelena Jankovic and Dinara Safina are still without a major title to their name despite topping the rankings in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
Fittingly, Wozniacki’s father Piotr played a part in his daughter’s watershed victory, joining her on court in the second set after the top seed had dropped two games while leading 4-1.
“He told me to try to get a lot of first serves in,” she revealed, her father coaching her ahead of what turned out to be the last game of the match. “He said she’s still there, that she’s a good player. So I should just keep fighting no matter if she comes back or not.”
And the 20-year-old was quick to retort critics of a rankings system that has seen Williams – winner of two of the four Grand Slam titles in 2010 – knocked off top spot.
“A Grand Slam is definitely my next goal now that I’ve achieved becoming No.1 in the world – one of my big dreams,” she said. “I’m still young, so I still have a lot of time ahead of me. I’ve had a fantastic season, and I think I can be proud of this. It’s an incredible feeling for me right now to say that I’m No.1 in the world.”
WTA chief executive Stacey Allaster was among the first to offer her congratulations to Wozniacki.
“It’s not surprising that Caroline’s incredible athleticism, discipline, dedication to training, and razor sharp focus have gotten her to world No.1,” she said.
Hours after the victory, however, it emerged that Williams has made plans to return to action next week at the WTA tournament in Linz.
“Her flight is booked, her arrival in Linz is scheduled for Sunday morning,” tournament organisers said on the official website. The American confirmed her participation later on Thursday.
The 29-year-old has been sidelined for four months after standing on broken glass in a Munich restaurant in early July, shortly after winning her fourth singles title at Wimbledon. The injury required surgery and forced her to miss last month’s US Open.
A comeback at the relatively modest Linz tournament would allow Williams to get herself in condition for the Masters event in Doha at the end of October.