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Can Caro’s tweaks make the difference?

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Originally published on: 20/01/12 10:29

Taking flak at a Grand Slam has pretty much become par for the course for Caroline Wozniacki. Holding the No.1 spot without winning a major tournament has seen to that.

Perhaps then, handing the top spot to Petra Kvitova might be a positive move to rid her of the pressure. A one-step-back-in-the-pursuit-of-two-steps-forward type thing.

But the Dane, who coasted past Monica Niculescu for the loss of just four games to reach the last 16 on Friday, won’t entertain such a thought.

“To be honest, I just play,” said Wozniacki, who at 21, should have time on her side, particularly with the likes of Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters nearing the end of their professional careers. In fact, the Belgian was No.1 herself for over two years before she picked up her first US Open crown in 2005.

Wozniacki has had to defend herself all too often but last year’s semi-finalist won’t be distracted in her latest charge for major honours.

“I want to try to do my best here,” she said simply. “Whatever happens, happens.

“To be honest, I’ve proven myself for the last two years. I’ve finished No.1 twice in a row. For me, the most important thing is to keep improving. If I do that, I know I can play on a very high level. If you win matches in tournaments, then the ranking will be there automatically.

“My main priority is just to try to [win] every match that I play,” she said.

In trying to do so, Wozniacki has been working on particular aspects of her game that might give her a cutting edge.

“I’ve worked quite a bit on my volleys,” she said on Friday. “I think I could have finished a few more points there, but I’m improving and trying to move in when I can.

“I don’t know how many years I’ve played with a two-handed backhand volley but I’ve tried to change that to a one-hand.”

The true test, it seems, is pulling the shot off on a regular basis, and when it really matters.

“It’s just about getting the confidence to play with it in a real match as well,” she admitted. “You can do it in practice, but it’s always different to play a match.”

Jelena Jankovic will provide Wozniacki’s first real challenge in Melbourne, with a place in the quarter-finals up for grabs. The Serb has looked in good nick so far this tournament, dropping just 10 games in Melbourne so far – to Wozniacki’s 14.

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