WTA Tour

Wozniacki upstages Sharapova

2014-10-21 18:00
Caroline Wozniacki (AFP)

Singapore - A raging Caroline Wozniacki has stunned Maria Sharapova in a marathon three-setter at the WTA Finals on Tuesday despite mid-match outbursts over faulty stadium lighting and an errant line call.

The Dane edged a thrilling encounter 7-6 (7/4), 6-7 (5/7), 6-2 in Singapore as she dented Sharapova's hopes of overtaking Serena Williams to be crowned the year-end world number one.

"It was a great match, it's always tough to play the first time and get into the rhythm," said the eighth seed. "I'm just so happy to be through."

Wozniacki edged a tight first set before threatening to halt play in the second when stadium spotlights started sweeping the crowd during a point and shone in her eyes while serving.

She then blew up over a line call and lost the second set, before finally clinching the match in three hours, 13 minutes -- one of the longest of the season, and 16 minutes short of the tournament record.

Wozniacki's second straight win over Sharapova underlines her strong finish to a year which has had peaks as well as troughs, including her US Open runner-up finish and break-up with golfer Rory McIlroy.

Sharapova needs to win her remaining round robin matches and reach the final of the year-ending tournament to have any chance of knocking Williams off the top spot in the season's final rankings.

The world number two was broken in her first service game before she clawed it back and served for the opening set -- only to double-fault twice as she was broken for a second time.

Sharapova bravely saved a set point at 5-6 down when she picked out the right tramline with a pinpoint forehand. But Wozniacki then reeled off five straight points to win the tiebreaker 7/4.

Wozniacki also broke immediately in set two but there was controversy in the sixth game when she stopped playing and raised her arms in disbelief when flashing stadium lights disrupted her concentration.

In a long exchange with the chair umpire, Wozniacki threatened to stop playing until the problem was fixed and when she resumed, she was broken for 3-3 and smacked the ball away in frustration.

The Dane snatched back a break in the next game and she then served for the match, but Sharapova broke at the critical juncture to keep the encounter alive.

Wozniacki was again incensed and she smashed her racquet on the net when, without any challenges left at 5-6 down, a clear wide shot was missed by the line judge giving Sharapova set point.

Wozniacki gesticulated sarcastically at the line judge when she eventually saved her service game and forced the tiebreak -- which Sharapova led throughout to force the decider 7/5.

But as the match ticked past three hours, the Dane was not discouraged by the setback and she again broke at the first attempt and once more for 4-2 before sealing it on her first match point.

Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was taking on Agnieszka Radwanska in Tuesday's second match in White Group. The eight-player season finale, being played in Asia for the first time, concludes on Sunday.


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