In almost fitting fashion, Caroline Wozniacki lost but wrapped up the 2011 No. 1 ranking today after Maria Sharapova withdrew from the WTA Championships at Istanbul.
Wozniacki fell in three sets to Vera Zvonareva 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 but secured the top spot on the women’s circuit for a second straight year when her main rival, Sharapova, had to pull out of the tournament after losing to Li Na 7-6, 6-4 because of continued problems with her left ankle.
“It’s amazing for me to finish the year as World No.1 once more,” said Wozniacki who didn’t even reach a Grand Slam final during the season. “Only very few players have finished a year as No. 1, and to do it two years in a row is very special. I’m only in the beginning of my career, and to have achieved so much already, it’s a dream come true.”
I don’t mean to be harsh, Caroline, but your “dream come true” should be winning a Slam, not another year-end No. 1!
Wozniacki now has as many year-end No. 1 finishes as Serena Williams and Monica Seles. But do we really put her in that class?
For Sharapova, it was a tough end to an encouraging season.
“It’s disappointing to end it this way, but I have no regrets,” Sharapova said. “I started the year barely in the Top 20, and I don’t know what I’ll be at the end of the year, but my game has stepped up. Going into next year there’s so many things I can improve to make me even better. It’s something I look forward to when I start training again soon.”
With Wozniacki’s No. 1 ranking secured and Sharapova, who has equal the number of Slams as the rest of the field combined, on a flight home, there’s little air left in the WTA’s season-ender.
On day three of the round robin competition tomorrow, Wozniacki returns against Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the marquee match. Sharapova will be replaced by Marion Bartoli in the round robin during which each win is worth $225K. Not bad.
Tennis Channel has all the action this week through Saturday.
THURSDAY WTA CHAMPIONSHIPS SCHEDULE
Sinan Erdem Dome (from 17.00hrs)
1. Victoria Azarenka vs. Li Na
2. Caroline Wozniacki vs. Petra Kvitova
3. Vera Zvonareva vs. Agnieszka Radwanska
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