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Wozniacki secures year-end No.1 spot

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Originally published on: 28/10/10 22:40

Caroline Wozniacki will be the youngest year-end WTA world No.1 in a decade after guaranteeing top spot until next year with a 3-6 6-1 6-1 victory over Francesca Schiavone at the WTA Championships.

On an action packed day in Doha, where all three of the day’s matches required a deciding third set, Clijsters secured the second qualifying spot from the Maroon Group as Sam Stosur topped the standings despite losing 4-6 6-4 7-6(4) to Elena Dementieva.

In the White Group, Kim Clijsters beat Victoria Azarenka 6-4 5-7 6-1 to leave tomorrow’s clash with Vera Zvonareva a play-off to see which of them will top the group, with the winner facing Stosur and the loser set to play the world No.1.

Wozniacki was made to work hard for her semi-final berth against Francesca Schiavone, also playing to stay in the tournament, both women having lost to Stosur earlier in the week.

Schiavone, this year’s surprise Roland Garros champion, shot out of the traps to secure the first set, leaving Wozniacki one set away from being dumped out of the competition.

The Dane responded, lifting her game considerably to win the next two for the loss of just two games.

“Francesca was playing really, really well in the first set. I didn’t have too many chances to break her,” said Wozniacki. “I knew I had to stay focused and from there I didn’t allow her to dictate the points as much. I’m really happy with the win.”

Wozniacki, 20, is now set to become the youngest year-end world No.1 since a 20-year-old Martina Hingis topped the rankings at the end of the 2000 season.

“It’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was a little girl,” said Wozniacki, having captured top spot for the first time three weeks ago. “I’m really happy and just really proud of everything I’ve achieved this year.”

Sam Stosur’s spot in the semi-finals was assured once Wozniacki dropped a set earlier in the day, but the Aussie looked in no mood to hand Elena Dementieva a chance of taking her slim chance to reach the semi-finals.

But Dementieva, who came off second-best when the pair met at the US Open, did not give in and fought back after losing the first set, an early break proving enough to take the second.

In the decider both women went toe-to-toe to force a tiebreak, and while it was Stosur who rode out four mach points in New York, this time it was the Russian who stepped up when mattered to win the match.

“It wasn’t easy to play today after losing to Caroline very easily, but I just tried to improve and be ready for today,” said Dementieva, who is out of the running for the semi-finals despite the result.

“Sam had a great win last night [against Wozniacki]. I tried to fight for every point. I’m really enjoying my time here, it’s very special for me to be here in Doha playing the WTA Championships.”

Having been out of the game since her US Open defence six weeks ago Kim Clijsters has secured her passage to the semi-finals after following a straight sets victory over Jelena Jankovic with a 6-4 5-7 6-1 win over Victoria Azarenka.

After some big hitting from the offset, the two-time WTA Championships champion crucially broke in the ninth game to take the opening set.

The second set was even closer, this time Azarenka edging ahead early on. Clijsters broke back, only to slip behind again straight away, before the Belarusian won a tight game 12 to force a decider.

This should have spurred Azarenka on, but in the final set her serve failed her. Clijsters capitalised on this in ruthless fashion, breaking twice before closing it out.

The result wraps up the White Group, with Clijsters and Zvonareva playing for positions and Azarenka, Jankovic, Schiavone and Dementieva playing for pride and rankings points on Friday.

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