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Liguori: Caroline Wozniacki, Re-focused, Finds Herself In The Quarterfinals

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark celebrates match point against Maria Sharapova of Russia after winning their women's singles fourth round match on Day Seven of the 2014 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31, 2014 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark celebrates match point against Maria Sharapova of Russia after winning their women’s singles fourth round match on Day Seven of the 2014 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31, 2014 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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By Ann Liguori
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10th seed Caroline Wozniacki dazzled on the Ashe Stadium Court in the third set, beating 5th seed and 2014 French Open champ Maria Sharapova 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 to advance to the quarterfinals.

Wozniacki broke in the 4th game of the third set to take a 3-1 lead and then won the next five of six games, winning more than 70 percent of the shots on her first serve. Sharapova, with 10 unforced errors in the third set, had twice as many as Wozniacki in that third set.

Before the third set, with both players allowed a ten minute break due to the heat factor, Sharapova was issued a ‘time violation’ for taking an 11 1/2 minute break. Had she had another time violation, she would have been ducked a point.

Both players came out fresh to start the third set, but Wozniacki played with more confidence, was able to get the early break, made less mistakes and advanced to her first quarterfinal in the last 11 Grand Slam events.

It was Wozniacki’s biggest win in a long time and it could not have come at a better time!

As much as I liked Wozniacki and Rory McIlroy as a couple, since their very public break-up in May, when McIlroy called off the engagement after the wedding invites were sent, they both have performed much better in their perspective sports. They had been seeing each other since 2011.

That week, McIlroy won the BMW PGA Championships at Wentworth. He then won three straight: the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and back-to-back Majors, the British Open and the PGA Championship, becoming the first player since Padraig Harrington in 2008 to win back-to-back Majors. At 25-years of age, he became the third-youngest player to win four majors behind Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.

The same Sunday that McIlroy won the British Open, Wozniacki won her 22nd title in Istanbul. After finishing the year at number 1 in both 2010 and 2011, her ranking fell to no. 10 at the end of both 2012 and 2013. In 2010 she was a semi-finalist at the U.S. Open and in 2011, she was a semi-finalist at the Australian Open and the U.S. Open. But her results in the Grand Slams have suffered since then. She lost in the first round at the 2012 Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and in the second round at the 2013 French Open and 2013 Wimbledon.

It’s difficult to sustain a top ranking at that level without complete dedication and focus to the game.

Sharapova and boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov seem to be making their relationship work as both compete in the same sport and perhaps they can coordinate their travel schedules better. As challenging as it still must be to have a healthy relationship when each is pursuing their best results in a highly competitive, global sport, at least they can see each other more.

Wozniacki is training to run in the NYC Marathon this November. She certainly has re-focused herself on her athletic pursuits and being the best she can be in tennis. I give her tons of credit for rebounding so gracefully from such a terrible, public break-up.  At only 24 years of age, her tennis career should come first and she’ll meet ‘Mr. Right’ eventually.

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