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Friday, May 27, 2011

French Open: Wozniacki Says Au Revoir to Paris Dreams

There have been a lot of expectations for Caroline Wozniacki since her sky rocket journey to world no. 1, but never have those expectations been so large as at this year's French Open. The young Dane dominates many of her matches with devastating placement and mind-boggling defense, and with this slam's draw so wide open, many tennis analysts said this was her best chance to validate her ranking. But after her match against Daniela Hantuchova, it looks like we'll have to keep waiting...

Caroline was at her usual game, running down shots and playing with great consistency. In the entire match she only had 14 unforced errors to 8 winners, but maybe that's not saying much considering the scoreline: 6-1 6-3 in favor of her opponent. The difference today was her depth and missed offensive attacks. Her shots were dropping short enough for Hantuchova to find her range, moving in and sweeping a total of 26 clean winners.

Daniela is a former top 5 player, so there's no denying her ability to pull off big wins, but not many fans expected this. It was clear between games just how serious the Slovakian was about stunning the world'd best, practicing swings and staying on her toes to keep motivated. On cross overs she would look to her box, eyes narrowed and fists clenched. Her body language wasn't the only thing serious about Hantuchova's presence on court today either—she hammered forehands at will and baffled Wozniacki with backhands aimed perfectly up the line.

It looked as though Wozniacki might have the biggest comeback of the tournament when she rallied from 4-0 to 4-3 in the second set, but Hantuchova was not to be subdued. Her two aces in the match came back to back when she faced break point, and although she was eventually broken, she took the confidence of those crucial shots into her the final games of the match. When Wozniacki's final shot soared long, Hantuchova pumped both fists into the air, victoriously and much deserved.

This year's French Open won't complete the Clijster's slam, won't reaffirm Stosur's clay court performance from last year, and now it won't be the breakthrough tournament for Wozniacki.  If we thought Roland Garros was wide open before, the gap just got a little bit wider.

For complete match updates from today, click HERE.

-Kedzie Teller, ITB Senior Editor


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