Wozniacki relaxed as Sharapova clash looms

Wozniacki relaxed as Sharapova clash looms

Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki felt she had justified her position as top seed after setting up a fourth-round clash with former champion Maria Sharapova at the US Open.

Wozniacki, a beaten finalist here last year, thrashed Yung-Jan Chan of Chinese Taipei 6-1 6-0 in the third round on Saturday and has dropped just three games in three matches so far.

And Sharapova went one better by whitewashing 18-year-old wild card Beatrice Capra 6-0 6-0 to leave Venus Williams as the only American woman left in the draw.

Wozniacki, who has won three of her last four tournaments and now has a win-loss record of 17-1 since Wimbledon, said: “I think I’ve shown I belong where I am and I’m just happy to be through to the fourth round.

“For me, it’s just about winning the matches. I think it’s up to everyone else to judge what I’ve shown or not shown. For me it’s just important that I’ve won these three matches pretty comfortably.

“It would be a great victory (against Sharapova) but when I go out there I really don’t think too much about who is on the other side. I just want to do what I’m supposed to do out there on court, and I want to win.

“It really doesn’t matter who’s on the other side. I feel like I’m playing well, so hopefully I can just keep my roll. I don’t feel the pressure. My time will come. If it won’t come now, it will come tomorrow, so I’m not afraid of that.”

It was the second year in succession Sharapova had faced the new darling of American tennis in the third round in New York, the Russian having lost to Melanie Oudin 12 months ago as the 17-year-old went on to reach the quarter-finals.

But there was never any danger of a repeat result today as the former world number one produced a ruthless display on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“Last year was a similar situation, a young opponent who came out and played great tennis so I wanted to come out and concentrate and be consistent,” Sharapova said.

“When you play someone on a good run who is young and eager it’s always challenging because they go out and have nothing to lose. Sometimes they are the most dangerous opponents.”

Asked about facing Wozniacki in the last 16, Sharapova added: “She is playing some of the best tennis of her career, a finalist here last year so very familiar with this court so it will be tough, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Jelena Jankovic’s bid for a first Grand Slam title had earlier been blown off court by a combination of Kaia Kanepi and the strong, blustery winds.

Kanepi coped best with winds gusting up to 25mph in New York, the 31st seed from Estonia winning 6-2 7-6 (7/1) to book her place in the fourth round.

The 25-year-old, who reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon this year, served for the match at 5-3 in the second set but lost her serve twice in the next three games to give fourth seed Jankovic the chance to force a decider.

However, Kanepi quickly regained her composure to break back and force a tie-break which she won for the loss of just one point.

Jankovic, who lost to Serena Williams in the final here in 2008, said: “The wind was really tough. I had a really hard time hitting the balls, they were going all over the place. The wind was really strong and she handled these kind of conditions a lot better than I did.

“You hit the ball one direction, it goes another. You’re just getting ready to hit the ball and it just moves away from you. It was really hard out there.

“But like I said, she handled the wind a lot better than I did. She was the better player today. Congrats to her.”

Wimbledon finalist Svetlana Kuznetsova won the day’s final match on Arthur Ashe Stadium, beating fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko 6-3 6-4 to set up a clash with Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova.

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