March 17, 2013 by Parveer Mann
“I have to be happy with the finals here. It’s a very big tournament. It’s been a good two weeks for me. I’ve been fighting and playing some really good tennis. I’ve been having to think a lot and play some chess out there – I’ve had to play aggressive, defensive, and everything that I had.
“Today there wasn’t time for chess.” – Caroline Wozniacki, wtatennis.com
These post-match comments are an interesting but appropriate choice of words by Wozniacki. When she is on, it’s like a game of chess where she cannot rely on a quick checkmate but has to maneuver many shots in advance. A prime example was her semifinal encounter with Angelique Kerber that had multiple long rallies where Wozniacki would hit any kind of shot (including ‘comical’ moonballs) to keep the rally going. It has been a strategy that saw her rise to the top of the women’s game a couple of years ago and one that rarely causes her to beat herself in a match.
The fatal fault
On this day, it was the weaknesses in her game that were her undoing. Sharapova dominated in number of winners (33-2) in the hour and twenty minute affair despite having more unforced errors. The defensive approach has not masked the fact that Wozniacki does not have the offensive repertoire to bring the game to her opponent and end points quickly. There is a reason that players of her style and size do not occupy many spots in the top 10. The only other I can think of currently is Sara Errani, who had that unbelievable result in last year’s French Open.
Despite the performance, the result this past week in Indian Wells is a positive step for Wozniacki. It is the first time in over a year she has competed this well at a Grand Slam or WTA Premier event. I hope this is a good sign for the remainder of the year because like I’ve said before I’ve been impressed at how she was able maximize her skillset during her reign as world number one. At 22, she is still one of the younger stars in an era where maturity has helped not hindered this generation’s stars.
Highlight of the Tennis Weekend:
The great doubles duo, Mike and Bob Bryan won their 22nd ATP Masters title but first at Indian Wells. It helped them achieve what Ben Rothenberg coined, “The Career Golden Master Slam”.