Singapore: Caroline Wozniacki raged at the stadium lighting and an errant line-call as she stunned French Open champion Maria Sharapova in a marathon three-setter at the WTA Finals on Tuesday.
Caroline Wozniacki celebrates her win yesterday
The relentless Dane won 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. Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska also beat Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova 6-2, 6-3 in the White Group round robin on day two at the eight-player season finale. 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. "I thought she was joking when she didn't call that out," Wozniacki said of the line judge. "I mean, obviously I had won the point, and then all of a sudden... the linesman is putting her two hands down like it's good. "I'm like, 'You got to be kidding me'.
The ball was literally this far out. It was hard to miss." 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 now needs to win her remaining round robin matches and reach the final in Singapore to have any chance of knocking Williams off the top spot in the season's final rankings.
"It turned into a much tougher match than I feel like it should have been. But I feel like I did that, you know. I can only blame myself for that. Physically it was an incredibly tough match," Sharapova said. "In the end, I think I just went for a little too much and maybe just didn't commit enough, didn't move forward enough, held back a little bit."
Flashing stadium lights
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. "I just feel like right now with all the training and running I've been doing I can keep being out there and keep running," said the former world number one, who is training for the New York marathon. "I kept thinking to myself out there in the third set, If you're going to get tired now, how are you going to get through this marathon? You better keep going. "I did, and I felt pretty good out there. I felt I could still keep going for a while."