Two of the biggest names on the women’s side of the 2013 US Open draw faced inspired challengers on day 6. When the dust settled, both former world #1 Caroline Wozniacki and former WTA Player of the Year Petra Kvitova found themselves on the outside looking in, unceremoniously bounced from the fortnight. Italy’s Camila Giorgi showed the kind of play pundits have begged to see from Wozniacki. Camila was aggressive, moving into the court to crack groundstrokes, putting greater weight into her shots. Meanwhile, Wozniacki struggled to get any bite out of her forehand. The end result was a 4-6 6-4 6-3 win for Camila. I know Caroline is not naturally an attacking player and she could make the argument that she reached #1 playing her style. I would argue that she benefitted during that period from Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters being either injured and/or playing limited schedules. What’s more, the tour has figured out her stye. It’s not just the top players that are beating her now. She’s losing to players she would have rolled over two years ago. Wozniacki must evolve or she will continue to suffer defeat at the hands of much lower ranked opponents.
With American players Sloane Stephens, Victoria Duval and the great Serena Williams in the headlines early during the 2013 US Open, it was Alison Riske who dazzled on day 6, taking out 2011 WTA Player of the Year Petra Kvitova in emphatic fashion, 6-3 6-0. Yes, it’s true that Petra struggles in America and openly complains about how being here triggers breathing issues as well as an aversion for the big crowds at the National Tennis Center. But win or lose, never did I think Alison would hang a bagel on Petra in the final set, particularly since Kvitova had beaten Riske in the second round of the New Haven Open at Yale a week ago. But that was then, this is now. Confidence is so important in sports as it is in life. Alison played like a player who believes she belongs. I remain a big fan of Petra Kvitova. And I know she did complain of having a fever the day before this match. But she’s complained of illness for years coming to America. It seems the moment she steps off the plane in JFK Airport she gets sick. I cannot take any credit away from Riske. At a certain point Petra has to figure out why she has medical issues in the States and learn how to manage it.
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