Opportunity knocks for Wozniacki in Melbourne

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Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki

Melbourne, January 12: Caroline Wozniacki has long since grown tired of being asked about her failure to win a grand slam, but the resurgent Dane can shed the burden at the Australian Open.

It is six years since Wozniacki's 67-week reign as world number one was ended by a defeat to Kim Clijsters at the quarter-final stage in Melbourne.

The 27-year-old already had reason to be irked by questions about her inability to claim a major at such a relatively early stage of her career.

Injuries and a loss of form led to a fall from grace for the two-time US Open finalist, who has not returned to the top of the rankings since that loss to Clijsters.

This time 12 months ago Wozniacki was not being talked of as a potential contender to win the opening grand slam of the year and she duly bowed out in the third round.

But she will start the 2018 tournament next week with an excellent chance of claiming what has proved to be an elusive honour at one of the sport's four headline events after returning to the peak of her powers last season.

Wozniacki claimed the biggest prize of her career at the WTA Finals in October, beating Venus Williams for the first time in eight attempts to be crowned champion.

She prowled around the court like a predator, ruthlessly securing flawless 'bagel' sets against three fellow top-10 opponents en route to finishing the season in style – prompting yet more talk of a potential slam success.

Wozniacki was celebrating again when she got engaged to NBA star David Lee just a few days on from her Singapore success and rose to number two in the rankings by finishing runner-up to Julia Goerges in her first event of the year at the Auckland Open last week.

With her close friend and defending champion Serena Williams not ready to return after recently giving birth, opportunity knocks at the Australian Open.

World number one Simona Halep and Czech star Karolina Pliskova have also failed to win a grand slam, while there are doubts over Garbine Muguruza's fitness in a women's event which is wide open.

There may be no better time for Wozniacki to finally put an end to probing about her drought and the flood gates could open if she gets her hands on the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup.

Source: OPTA

Story first published: Friday, January 12, 2018, 13:30 [IST]
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