Sport Tennis Wozniacki knocks Sharapova out of US Open

Wozniacki knocks Sharapova out of US Open

Caroline Wozniacki after her giant killing performance.
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Five-time grand slam champion Maria Sharapova joined the exodus of US Open top seeds on Sunday, succumbing in three sets to former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki.

The 10th-seeded Dane booked a quarter-final berth with a 6-4 2-6 6-2 triumph on a steamy Arthur Ashe Stadium court.

The conditions were so punishing that the players were granted a break in the locker room before the third set, and when they returned to the court Wozniacki wasted little time, breaking Sharapova to love in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead.

She broke the Russian superstar again in the final game to seal the victory and a chance to play 13th-seeded Italian Sara Errani for a semi-final berth.

Errani ended the magical run of 32-year-old Croatian qualifier Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-3 2-6 6-0.

“It means so much to me,” said Wozniacki, the 2009 runner-up who reached the semi-finals in 2010 and 2011 but hadn’t been past the third round at Flushing Meadows the last two years.

“It’s been a bit up and down for me this season,” she added.

“To win today against a champion like Maria is an unbelievable feeling.”

The departure of fifth-seeded Sharapova leaves just two of the women’s top eight – world No.1 and two-time defending champion Serena Williams and seventh-seeded Canadian Eugenie Bouchard.

Lucic-Baroni, ranked 121 in the world, accounted for the third-round exit of world No.2 Simona Halep.

But the Croatian, a teen sensation in the 1990s whose career was derailed by the trauma of an abusive father, financial troubles and injury, couldn’t find a way past the metronomic Errani.

The Italian played it safe, coming up with just four outright winners to the 46 of Lucic-Baroni – but also committing only nine unforced errors to the 69 of her opponent.

In the first set, Errani put 100 per cent of her first serves in play. Asked how she managed that on a windy day, Errani said she couldn’t afford not to.

“I serve slowly, so I have to put mine in,” she said.

Errani said Lucic-Baroni’s power left her little choice but to try to out-wait her.

“To move the ball, to be in long points with her is impossible,” Errani said.

“She hits the ball very strong. She made winners and she made unforced errors. So I just had to try to make her make mistakes.”

Lucic-Baroni said the Italian’s success deserved respect, despite her lack of fireworks.

“You know, she had five winners in the whole match and missed maybe three balls. She runs and she fights hard, that’s the way it is,” Lucic-Baroni said.

Errani, who achieved a career doubles grand slam with partner Roberta Vinci at Wimbledon, is trying to improve on her best grand slam singles performance, a runner-up showing at the French Open in 2012.