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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Caroline wins her 20th singles title in Moscow

It was final's day in Moscow and crowd couldn't ask for a better final, two of the highest seeds were involved and their palmares is of a great quality too: Stosur, 1st seed here in Moscow, entered the torunament as world number 9, but no longer than one year ago she was capable of defeating Serena Williams in New York to win her first title of a Grand Slam. On the other side of the net, waiting to fight over every ball as usual, there was Caroline Wozniacki, former world number 1 and nowadays "only" 11th and willing to get back to the eden of tennis.
The two had played eachother a few times already with Stosur leading the series for 3 matches to 2. For that reason, but not only, she was heading into this final as the favourite. Sam won their only two matches on Hard and came into this final with a lot less time spent on court, while Caroline, despite giving great signs of developement in her game, struggled a lot closing her matches both in quarter- and semifinal.
Nevertheless, Wozniacki entered the match with a clear idea of how to play Stosur, while the Australian looked clearly surprised by the newest attitude Caroline showed early in the first set.
The Danish player indeed, after having been critizised for her too passive gameplan, has been working all season in order to be more aggressive, but -as her fall in the ranking suggests- she never found a good balance between her naturally defensive game and the new offensive one. But that was before heading to Moscow, here Wozniacki surprisingly showed a great consistency even off her "unlucky" Forehand side. Of course she is still rough and often withdrew to her old defensive self, but contrary to what happened throughout the season, when she tried to be aggressive, she wouldn't do it brainlessly and she finished every match with positive winners-unforced errors ratio. 
The first set kind of followed that path described above, with Caroline often moving Stosur around the court hitting powerful and accurate shots from both wings. On the side of the net the Australian kind of suffered the blow and couldn't harm the Danish with the backhand, but Wozniacki never let her run around the ball for her famouse inside-out forehands, so that the few times Sam tried that had to open too quickly and missed a lot of balls.
In a very convincing fashion the Dane took the first set for 6 games to 2.
But as it often happened during the week, she pretty much couldn't handle the return of flame that Stosur tried in the second set. The Australian looked way more sure of her shots and most of all of her serve, that was much of missing in the first set. Wozniacki tried her chances back and could break back to catch her opponent evening out again on 4-4. Caroline had no time to enjoy that comeback that soon faced more break points and this time Stosur could serve for the 2nd set.
Sam didn't let this chance slip away from her hands and with a sliced service-ace closed the set and re-opened the match.
At the beginning of the third set all the momentum was on Stosur's side and Caroline could feel it like a stab when she was broken to love on the opening game. Stosur tried to extend her lead, but on 2-0, Wozniacki pretty much shacked all her fears out and started to play again as if the match had just started, running on every ball and being aggressive everytime she had the chance to.
As like as it happened in the 2nd partial the two players were tie at 4-4 and yet again Caroline fast found herself facing two breakpoints that this time would send Stosur serving for the match. With two very brave services she saved them and went up 5-4. 
Stosur had no signs of will to give up and hold with ease to tie up again, but Wozniacki found a great service game this time and went up 6-5 demanding another show-off of corague from Stosur.
The Australian went up in the early fifteens, but then experienced a couple of terrific returns from Wozniacki, who, at the very first match point, could close the match on a wide forehand crosscourt from Stosur: 6-2 4-6 7-5 in a high quality and drama final to end the season of WTA tournaments.
For Wozniacki is the second title of the season after the one won few weeks ago in Seul, but most of all the first Premier success since New Haven 2011.

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