The girlfriend of Rory McIlroy had plenty to cheer last week when golf’s World No 1 landed a mega-bucks deal with Nike, but there was less to celebrate on court at the Australian Open.
The blonde Dane, now ranked at 10th in the world, made it safely to the fourth round but came unstuck yesterday against Russian veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova, going down in three hard-fought sets 2-6, 6-2, 5-7. Wozniacki was left contemplating her worst Melbourne showing in three years. “There’s still a long year... there are still a few things I can work on and it can be better. But at the same time, there are so many things I think I did well at this tournament,” said Wozniacki, who hit back at accusations she was “boring” by sending up repetitive questions at press conferences.
Wozniacki also reminded her fans that in tennis, the difference between winning and losing is often very small. “Today they could have seen that it was very close and could have gone both ways. To understand completely how it is, you have to play tennis yourself and have been in those situations.”
One man who may understand those small margins is McIlroy, whose season with his new sponsor got off to a poor start when he missed the cut in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
Serena, Azarenka cruise into last eight
Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka wasted little energy in making the Australian Open last eight yesterday.
Third seed Williams, gunning for her sixth Australian title, blitzed a dazed Maria Kirilenko 6-2, 6-0. She next faces exciting American teenager Sloane Stephens, who beat Serb Bojana Jovanovski in a tough 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 battle to make her first Grand Slam quarter-final.
Like Williams, top seed Azarenka took less than an hour to dispose off Elena Vesnina 6-1, 6-1 to set up a last eight meeting with Svetlana Kuznetsova.