Confident Caroline Wozniacki Breezes Into US Open Semifinals

Peng Shuai talks about how exciting it is to reach her first Grand Slam semifinal after her quarterfinal win over Belinda Bencic at the US Open.


NEW YORK -- It seems everyone these days is rooting for Caroline Wozniacki, including the person responsible for blasting "Sweet Caroline" from the Arthur Ashe Stadium speakers Tuesday night.

On still another muggy and wildly windy night, Sara Errani also did everything she could to accommodate Wozniacki, as an ineffective serve, coupled with the will of a former No. 1, sent the 24-year-old Dane breezing into the US Open semifinals with a 6-0, 6-1 victory.

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Caroline Wozniacki had 26 winners against just 10 unforced errors in her quarterfinal win.

The 10th-seeded Wozniacki would appear to have a smooth path to a potential final against good buddy Serena Williams. But first, Wozniacki plays unseeded Peng Shuai, who is competing in her first major semifinal, while Williams still has two rungs to go, beginning with No. 11 Flavia Pennetta in Wednesday's quarters and potentially Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals.

For Wozniacki, the top-ranked player in the world for 67 weeks between 2010 and 2012, she is aiming for her second US Open final after finishing runner-up to Kim Clijsters in 2009.

Talked about more this year for her breakup with fiancé and pro golfer Rory McIlroy, her growing friendship with Williams and her training for the New York City Marathon in November for charity, the Open has been another breakout of sorts in a successful career.

"I feel confident, and I feel comfortable out there," Wozniacki said. "I've been playing well these last few months, and it's just nice it's paying off here."

Known for her defense and counterpunching, Wozniacki has raised her level of on-court aggressiveness. Tuesday, however, was hardly a challenge. Wozniacki saved four break points in the opening game of the match but was in control after that, dropping just eight points on Errani's serve all night.

"I always go out there, and I believe I'm going to play well," Wozniacki said. "I had a game plan in mind, and I just went for my shots. I knew that I had to be aggressive, but not too aggressive, kind of find a balance between finding the opening, and then go for my shots whenever I had the shots [to go] for it."

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Sara Errani made it to two Grand Slam quarterfinals this year but won just five games in the two losses.

Errani, a five-time Grand Slam doubles champion who made it to the Open semis in 2012, had just 12 winners in the match to 26 for Wozniacki.

After eliminating Venus Williams in the third round here, Errani lamented, "I know [people] say my serve is terrible ... It's not easy to improve it."

Tuesday night, the 13th seed from Italy said she simply wasn't strong enough to overtake Wozniacki.

"She's stronger than me; I have to work more on that," said Errani, who is 5-foot-4, 132 pounds to Wozniacki's 5-10, 139. "She's very good. She don't miss a ball. Every point was long points, and it made me feel worse physically. I tried to change my game in the second [set] to be much more aggressive. I tried to go more [to] the net because on the baseline, she was [killing me]. ... I was trying, but it was difficult."

Wozniacki returns to the Open semis for the first time since 2011, when she lost to Serena Williams.

"I have to say the [2009] finals feels closer than the semifinals 2011," she said. "It's weird. I don't know. I think just because it was such a huge experience for me and it was my first really deep run in a Grand Slam. I'm just so happy to be back in this stage and having another match out there."

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