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Wozniacki through to the quarter finals at Nature Valley International

Rudy Martinez
ANALYST
Feature
78   //    27 Jun 2018, 23:38 IST

TENNIS-GBR-ATP-EASTBOURNE

Caroline Wozniacki needed a lot of time on court but got enough to earn another win at the Nature Valley International Wednesday evening. The world number two overcame being a set down against Johanna Konta to force a third set and win 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 on centre court at Devonshire Park in Eastbourne. It was the first win against her on grass and the first of their career series.

A third meeting between the two stars of the sport made their matchup a key one to see. The popularity of the former two-time world number one and the Eastbourne hometown girl vying for a spot to get into the round of eight. The Brit held a serious advantage winning both at Miami and the Australian Open last year and having everyone who knows her well supporting her.

Wozniacki made her stance this week getting a quick win against Camila Giorgi taking care of business as usual while Konta ravaged her way to a fast straight sets win over Alexandra Krunic. With someone likely to be disappointed, it would be up to whoever got the edge on the key break that may dictate the rest of the match.

Konta would be the first to get it as she held strong to open the set before getting a 2-0 lead with comfort on the court. The Dane clawed out a win in the third but trailed Konta after five calling out her coach and father for advice. After words of encouragement from Piotr Wozniacki, she attacked with the second serve on Konta’s service game scoring three break points before the winner that leveled the score.

While there wasn’t a lot of ground lost for the Brit, she found a way of remedying that pulling out two straight wins to threaten to win the set. Konta couldn’t do it on the break but with the efforts on serve, she won the opener after a break on deuce ending 39 minutes of play.

The margin was in favor of the Eastbourne native as she scored 11 winners despite having the most unforced errors of the two. Her efforts on the breakpoints would show well as she got into it in the opening game of the second set.

While trying to focus on breaking the world number two for the second time, unforced errors allowed Wozniacki to figure back into her service game and find control. She pressured the Brit to falter a number of times before she secured the win on the fourth break of deuce.

Wozniacki got a grip on the momentum built from the lengthy game carving out a break for herself. A hold in the third gave the top seed her biggest lead of the match hoping to force a third set in quickly.

Konta found a way to lock down her first service hold in the fourth but couldn’t contain a 30-0 lead on the break giving Wozniacki a 4-1 lead. She was witnessing all remaining control slipping from her fingers as Wozniacki gained another break under her belt before she served for a tie. She reached triple set point but watched as Konta recovered all the lost ground to force deuce.

The newfound energy that she got didn’t help her overtake in the game as Wozniacki handled herself to go two breaks before closing out the set in 38 minutes sending the two the full distance. While both had even numbers on the stats, Wozniacki had the leverage of winning far more points than the Brit in an effort to get into a third set than being defeated.

Konta still focused on pulling off that feat doing a lot to secure her service game that saw the Dane attack for break chances. She couldn’t get it done but secured a serve to love landing a net winner in the second. Konta got on the board in the third taking a chat with Michael Joyce on how to fight against the serve of Wozniacki. She found a way to do it putting aggressive hits on the return to level the score with the service in hand for the fifth.

Wozniacki wanted to gain back her lead and did so breaking Konta that consolidated the hold she earned on serve in game six. Two games were in hand but the efforts from the number one Brit were still alive as she battled to contain the service game in the seventh.

She and Wozniacki went deep on deuce where she gained the key AD point to sit a game down of the Dane. The leverage remained heavy for the world number two as she won on serve in the eighth putting Konta on the edge of defeat.

She kept herself alive on serve standing a game down with every chance to even up the score and stay in the match. Wozniacki denied her that chance gaining double match point where an ace down the center line was challenged but showed that it hit just enough to bring an end to the day in two hours and ten minutes.

“It was a very difficult match,” said Wozniacki after her match. "Jo plays really well and she loves the grass and obviously playing at home, but after the first set I think I got a little bit more of a rhythm and I think both of us played better and was lucky to get it in the end."


How far do you think will Caroline Wozniacki progress in the tournament? Tell us in the comments below!

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Rudy Martinez
ANALYST
A writer with eight years experience in sportswriting. He specializes in the National Hockey League, WTA Tennis and both summer and winter Olympic sports.
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