By PAT EATON-ROBB, Associated Press
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) _ Caroline Wozniacki’s 20-match winning
streak in New Haven ended Friday when the four-time defending
champion retired from her semifinal match with Maria Kirilenko with
a knee injury.
Wozniacki, who injured the right knee in her quarterfinal win
Thursday, called for the trainer right after dropping the first set
of the semifinal 7-5 to the 25-year-old Russian.
“I could feel it from the start,” she said. “But, you know,
it just started to get a bit worse. I decided to stop because if
you don’t feel a hundred percent, you can’t compete at a hundred
percent. It’s better to let it rest. I wasn’t going to win this
match anyways if I’m not on a hundred percent fit level.”
The third-seeded Dane had won all 20 matches she played at the
tournament since entering as a relatively unknown 18-year-old in
2008. She hadn’t dropped a set here since the 2010 final.
Wozniacki was trying to join Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf
and Chris Evert as the only players to win five consecutive
championships at the same tournament.
“You know, you defend it again and again, all of a sudden
you’re in this elite group that has won a tournament four times,”
she said. “I mean, there’s a lot of players that never win a
tournament and there’s a lot of players that never win four.
Winning the same one four times in a row is definitely special.”
That was part of the reason she decided to play Friday, despite
the injury, which she suffered on a backhand return in the opening
game of the second set Thursday against Dominika Cibulkova. She
went on to win that match 6-2, 6-1 after getting the knee taped.
She said medical experts had told her she would not hurt the
knee further by playing Friday.
She seemed to move well during the match, but had a hard time
with Kirilenko’s serve and did not get single break point in the
Kirilenko broke Wozniacki in the 11th game and served out the
set to avoid a tie-breaker.
“She was fighting,” Kirilenko said. “She was running. When I
hit a great shot, she couldn’t run for it. She made the right
decision. She has to take a rest before the U.S. Open.”
The 25-year-old Russian will play either Sara Errani or Petra
Kvitova in the finals, the first in the United States for the
Olympic doubles bronze medalist.
“Every match I feel that I’m improving,” Kirilenko said. “I
found the way to play again on hard court, as grass court is
different completely than hard. Today I played, I think, the best
tennis in this tournament.”
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)