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U.S. Open: Maria Sharapova the aggressor, Caroline Wozniacki the winner

September 6, 2010 |  3:25 pm


Maria Sharapova was the creator, trying to craft winners from lobs and drop shots. She came forward more often, playing points at the net 10 more times -- 18 to 8 -- than her opponent. Sharapova was the more forceful with her service returns, trying to smash winners off every second serve, but all her aggressiveness was quietly countered by top-seeded and mostly overlooked, so far, Caroline Wozniacki.

It was Wozniacki, the 20-year-old from Denmark and runner-up here last year to Kim Clijsters, who won an intriguing fourth-round match, 6-3, 6-4, over the 14th-seeded Sharapova. While the score makes the match seem unremarkable, the pair played for nearly two hours. Several rallies lasted more than 20 strokes.

In their only two previous meetings it was Sharapova who had won, but both of those occasions were in 2008 before Wozniacki climbed into the upper echelon of the rankings.

Wozniacki had dropped only three games in the three rounds here and had won the final tournament leading to the U.S. Open. She is now on a 12-match winning streak, and if Wozniacki wins this Open she will earn a $1 million bonus in addition to $1 million in prize money because she won the summer series of tournaments.

Sharapova won the Open in 2006 but as has often been the case, her serve gave her trouble. She served nine double faults, not as many as the 21 she had last year when she was upset by Melanie Oudin, but many came at crucial times, when she needed a service hold.

-- Diane Pucin, reporting from New York

Photo: Caroline Wozniacki begins to celebrate after defeating Maria Sharapova in the fourth round of the U.S. Open on Monday. Credit: Don Emmert / AFP / Getty Images