Australian open: Wozniacki loses to Clijsters, surrenders World No.1 spot

January 24th, 2012 - 6:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Roger Federer Melbourne, Jan 24 (IANS) World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki’s hopes of winning her first Grand Slam title were dashed Tuesday when she lost to defending champion Kim Clijsters in the women’s singles quarterfinals at the Australian Open here Tuesday.

Roger Federer advanced to the men’s singles semifinals defeating Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. The Swiss now awaits the winner of the quarterfinal between Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych.

Clijsters, who had never previously beaten a top-ranked player at a Grand Slam, claimed a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) victory to cruise into the semifinals in one hour and 45 minutes.

For Wozniacki, the loss not only means she is out of the tournament but also that she will surrender her No.1 ranking next Monday.

According to the WTA website, Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka will be ranked ahead of Wozniacki in the world rankings and also Maria Sharapova, if she advances into the semifinals of the Australian Open.

The Belgian, who sprained her left ankle in her fourth-round win over fifth seed Li Na, did not appear to be affected by the injury against Wozniacki.

“Kim started off really strong. She put pressure on me from the beginning,” Wozniacki said.

“I made a few unforced errors and she ran away a bit in the first set. But I hung in there and kept fighting. I did what I could, but today it wasn’t enough. Obviously, it is never fun to lose, but you learn more from your losses than you do from your wins. I will keep working hard and come back better.”

The match started with three service breaks. The 28-year-old Clijsters dictated play from fourth game which she held and rallied to seal the opening set.

The match seemed to be beyond Wozniacki’s reach when Clijsters surged to a 3-1 advantage in the second set and took an upper hand in the fifth game. But Wozniacki, who was criticised for holding the No.1 spot without winning a major, won the next two points to break Clijsters, and then held the next game to level the set.

Clijsters hit a backhand down the line to take a 5-4 lead. She set up a double match point with a cross-court forehand winner and sealed it with a volley.

“She stepped up her game and started serving better in that second set,” Clijsters said. “We both played a really good tie-breaker. I mean, no unforced errors.”

The four-time major winner Clijsters next plays third-seeded Victoria Azarenka, who posted a 6-7 (0-7), 6-0, 6-2 win over No.8 Agnieszka Radwanska earlier in the day for her second Grand Slam semifinal.

–Indo-Asian New Service

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