Wozniacki wastes three match points against Safarova to fall in Doha opener

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World No.28 Lucie Safarova upset world No.4 and recent No.1 Caroline Wozniacki in the second round of the $2,168,400 Qatar Total Open, even though Wozniacki had three match points at 5-4 in the third set.

The players exchanged patches of dominance throughout the match and it was only a matter of whose patch would finish it. At 5-4 in the decider, on Safarova’s serve, Wozniacki stormed to 40-0 to earn herself three match points and it looked as if it was her day. But Safarova fired back and evened the match by winning five successive points. Actually, the Czech scored two more points and led 30-0 at 5-5. It was not over yet, though! Wozniacki worked her way back, and after saving two break points she won the game for 6-5. Safarova again leveled, and despite trailing 0-2 initially in the tiebreak, from 3-3 the Czech won all the remaining points and went away with well-deserved victory. Final score: 4-6 6-4 7-6(3).

Additional info: You know that Vera Zvonareva is defending champion in Doha and that she came to the tournament after a retirement in her quarterfinal at Pattaya. Unfortunately, the sixth-seeded Zvonareva retired from her opening round here, in the second set against Monica Niculescu, because of the same hip injury. Another seeded player is out, No. 8 seed Jelena Jankovic lost to Shahar Peer 7-6(3) 6-2. (photos: Johan Rivera)


  1. A shocker of a day for the seeds in Doha. Wozniacki looks to be heading backwards especially as Piotr is back coaching her again – getting rid off Ricardo Sanchez was a criminal decision in my eyes.

    A good win for Stosur over Cirstea especially after losing to her at the Australian Open earlier this year. It was the only match I saw a bit of today and it was high quality tennis. Although Cirstea dipped at the crucial stages of both sets, her recent form has been very promising and she looks to be playing her best tennis in quite sometime.

  2. Wow, Safarova caused some big upset. It happens, I don’t think it’s Piotr’s fault though. After a change of a coach it will take them some time to get into their old ways. I think she’ll do better in Dubai.

  3. I wouldn’t say that this defeat was Piotr’s fault but I think that generally, its not the right move forward for Wozniacki. I felt Wozniacki was showing some signs of improvement under Sanchez, but he was not given a proper chance. You only have to see how Radwanska’s game has now flourished under a new coach and moving away from working with her father.

  4. I’m so devastated about this loss…Caro really needs to tight her scheadule and rest more…she will lose points from Dubai last year,so she really needs to step up next week 🙂

  5. I also think that the tandem Caroline/Piotr has reached and gone beyond it’s peak. There were, about a year or so ago, some signs that they were trying to introduce more aggressiveness into her game, and it seemed as if exciting, and desperately needed, things were about to come – only for those signs to disappear after a few tournaments: as soon as under some real pressure (especially against toughest opponents), Caroline would fall back into her familiar groove, venturing less and less into that yet-unknown field in sight, and, finally, giving it up altogether – and, of course, not only she, but Piotr, who, at the time, was still her only coach, also, probably realising that he she=they cannot pull it off. The idea of adding to the game, though, was seemingly not forgotten: that’s where the experiments with new coaches must have come from. But the lack of patience remained in place, and they repeated the same pattern of “we’ve been trying for a full month or two and it still does not yield the expected results, so let’s give it all up and do what we always have done, what always has worked”. Told like this, it may seem too simple, because too obvious, an explanation of what’s going on not to be understood by people who once reached the top level – but, I’m afraid, there is not much more to it than that. Add the busy schedule which does not allow any leisure to work new things out, step-by-step – only on the run, and that requires great coaching skills-and-experience, but, also, great trust and patience on behalf of the pupil(s). All in all, I’m afraid that, if the Wozniackis do not realise what they are and what they should be doing, the prospects of Caroline’s future career are anything but bright – which is a shame: I still remember how glad I was at said time when it seemed as if there were new developments to be looking forward to, and that there was a truly great player and a champion in the making, right before our very eyes. So, I’d say, come on, Wozzies (and first of all you, Piotr), own up to the obvious, before it’s too late!


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