Caroline Wozniacki will head into the US Open as the second seed as she attempts to win her elusive maiden US Open title. Having made three semifinals and two finals , she has shown an ability to challenge consistently in New York without ever being able to take home the silverware. But her first opponent, former world #4 and US Open champion Sam Stosur, may pose some problems. Who will come out on top?
Having both been on the Tour and playing at a relatively high level for a number of years, these two have come across one another on plenty of occasions. 12 times, to be exact, with Wozniacki just edging out the Australian with seven wins to five. On hard courts, however, it’s Stosur who has the edge, winning four of their seven matches on this surface. But, this will be their first match in two years, and the first time they have ever met at a Major.
Last time out
Wozniacki heads into the US Open after an indifferent start to the hard court season. Her last two tournaments have seen her walk through the first round with a bye, only to be beaten (or retire, as in the case of her most recent match) in the second round. Prior to that she was knocked out in the second round at Wimbledon by world #35 Ekaterina Makarova, though she did enter that event coming off a victory at Eastbourne.
Likewise, Stosur enters the event with a string of relatively unsuccessful hard court tournaments behind her. Of her past three tournaments, she has failed to make it past the qualifying in two of them. But, last week in New Haven, she made it through three rounds of qualifying, a run which included a win over Wimbledon quarterfinalist Camila Giorgi, to reach the main draw. But she was defeated in straight sets there by world #25 Aryna Sabalenka.
How do they match up?
Wozniacki is an excellent defensive player, with her footwork and athleticism enabling her to cover the court better than most players on the Tour. Her groundstrokes are solid enough too, in particular her two-handed backhand. It is upon that shot that she will rely most heavily in this contest. Expect her to target Stosur’s backhand throughout the match, which is far weaker than the Australian’s forehand.
Stosur will likely regularly look to hit inside-out forehands. She hits her forehand with heavy topspin and that can make it particularly effective on a high-bouncing hard court, as should be especially evident in this match. She also has a strong first serve, though it can be erratic at times. But she will need to find a measure of consistency from the line in this contest, as Wozniacki is amongst the best returners in the game.
Neither player heads into this match in terrific form, but Wozniacki’s lack of recent success is likely to be much shorter-lived than Stosur’s. The Dane is still well and truly at the peak of her powers, even if she is out of form. Stosur, in contrast, is well past her best. Wozniacki should be confident she can advance through to the second round with relative ease, and if she can find anything approaching her best she will take the win in two sets.
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