Dominika Cibulkova reached her second US Open quarterfinal in two years by upsetting eleventh seed and 2004 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the fourth round. Later, top seed Caroline Wozniacki recorded one of the most significant victories of her career by defeating Maria Sharapova for the first time and by building on the momentum gained in the previous three rounds of the US Open in which the Dane lost a total of just three games. The two winners will face each other in the quarterfinals.
Despite a fragile thigh and being down in both sets, the world No.45 Cibulkova defeated Kuznetsova in straight sets, 7-5 7-6(4). The Slovakian could have finished the match earlier, as she served for the second set at 5-3, but Kuznetsova saved two match points and the set went to a tiebreak. The Slovakian didn’t let her opportunity slip away and won that tiebreak to deny Kuznetsova her 101th Grand Slam victory. During the match Kuznetsova made 42 unforced errors and double-faulted 10 times.
Here’s what Cibulkova said afterwards:
I was really pumped for this. I knew I could make it and that I could beat everybody in this tournament. I still feel like that.
The fourth round match between last year’s US Open runner-up Wozniacki and 2006 US Open champion Sharapova was highly anticipated, partly because it was a big test for Wozniacki’s great form but also a big test for more established Sharapova, and the two didn’t disappoint, providing tennis fans with big-hitting contest.
Both Wozniacki and Sharapova had very low break point conversion percentages – Wozniacki just 25% (converting 3 of 12 break points), and Sharapova just 11% (making use of only 1 out of 9 break points). Sharapova also had much more double faults and unforced errors than Wozniacki – nine double faults to Wozniacki’s three, and 36 unforced errors to Wozniacki’s 10. Final match result: 6-3 6-4.
Wozniacki has won the last four meetings against her next opponent Cibulkova, dating back to 2008, and all of them were on hard courts. The Dane is now more than ever a serious contender for a Grand Slam title, and if the repeat of the last year’s final with Kim Clijsters materializes, Wozniacki will be much more likely to go all the way. (photos: © Neal Trousdale)
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