The won­der­ful wiz­ardry of Woz

For­mer World No 1 is in the French Open quar­ter-fi­nals af­ter huge win

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - REUTERS

CAROLINE Woz­ni­acki moved a step closer to eras­ing an un­wanted foot­note from the list of her ten­nis achieve­ments with vic­tory over Svet­lana Kuznetsova in the French Open fourth round yes­ter­day.

Woz­ni­acki is that rare beast: a twice year-end world No 1-ranked ten­nis player who has never won a Grand Slam.

There have been oth­ers but none who reigned so long at world No 1 – 67 weeks – with­out suc­cess on the Grand Slam stage.

Yes­ter­day the Dane beat Kuznetsova, a player with two Grand Slam ti­tles in the bag but who has never scaled the women’s rank­ings to the very top.

The 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 vic­tory eased Woz­ni­acki into the quar­ter-fi­nals at Roland Garros, match­ing her best per­for­mance here in 2010.

“Ob­vi­ously it’s just kind of click­ing this week,” Woz­ni­acki,

smiled. “Hope­fully I can keep go­ing this way. Now I just try and stay fo­cused and keep my head down.”

Woz­ni­acki streaked into the lead on a sun-baked Philippe Cha­trier court, run­ning away with the first set as 2009 cham­pion Kuznetsova strug­gled with her range.

Eighth seed Kuznetsova soon struck back to level matters, us­ing her weight of shot to over­power the Dane.

Kuznetsova was al­ways likely to hit the big win­ners but they were too few, and er­rors more plen­ti­ful, as Woz­ni­acki grabbed two early breaks in the de­cider.

The 11th seed, her lu­mi­nous green rac­quet a rapier to Kuznetsova’s broadsword, eased into a 3-0 lead but af­ter a few meaty swings Kuznetsova broke back.

It was only a tem­po­rary re­prieve for the Rus­sian, though, and Woz­ni­acki re­asserted her con­trol, pum­melling a twofisted back­hand down the line to win the match.

“Yeah, it was def­i­nitely a good win,” she said. “Svet­lana ob­vi­ously plays re­ally well on this sur­face. I knew it was go­ing to be a tough match go­ing in. “I started off re­ally, re­ally well. My game plan was work­ing and kind of kept her on her toes with putting in some drop­shots and mix­ing up the pace.

“I knew it wasn’t go­ing to be easy. I knew that she was go­ing to try to fight her way back. She did in the sec­ond set, but I man­aged to close it off in three, which I’m happy about.”

Woz­ni­acki next faces ei­ther 2010 run­ner-up Sam Sto­sur or Je­lena Ostapenko for a spot in the semi-fi­nals.

“Def­i­nitely two tough op­po­nents, two very dif­fer­ent op­po­nents. Sam loves the clay. She’s had great re­sults here in the past.

“Ei­ther one is go­ing to be tough. Ostapenko goes for her shots and plays flat. When she’s on fire, she’s tough.”

Mean­while, de­fend­ing cham­pion Gar­bine Mugu­ruza of Spain was knocked out of the French Open when she lost 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in the fourth round against France’s Kristina Mlade­n­ovic yes­ter­day.

Mlade­n­ovic will play ei­ther Venus Wil­liams or Timea Bac­sin­szky in the quar­ters. serves as an illustration of the ba­sic good­ness at the heart of us all. It’s in sur­ren­der­ing to the forces of ego and greed that ev­ery­thing falls apart.

In an era which de­mands in­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion, which es­chews the tenet of toil, Totti’s ca­reer for Roma, as the quin­tes­sen­tial oneclub man, is a tow­er­ing ex­am­ple of how loy­alty is re­mem­bered and re­warded, and how it leaves a legacy that will stand the test of time.

Totti ar­rived at Roma as a ju­nior at the age of 12; he made his Ital­ian Serie A de­but at 16. Last week, when it was all over, the 40-year-old re­ceived a farewell that was a fit­ting, emo­tional and spec­tac­u­lar trib­ute for the 28 years of ser­vice to his beloved Roma.

It’s an ap­proach to life and foot­ball that’s In­dia’s Vi­rat Kohli’s 81 not out of 108 balls steered his team to a mas­sive 319/3 off 48 overs in a rain ef­fected in­nings against Pak­istan at Edg­bas­ton in Birm­ing­ham yes­ter­day in their ICC Champions Tro­phy match. He was ably aided by Ro­hit Sharma’s 91 of 119 balls, 65 ball 68 from Shikhar Dhawan and Yu­vraj Singh 53 off 49 balls. The in­clement weather con­tin­ued to have its say, how­ever, and the Pak­istan tar­get was re­cal­cu­lated to a chase of 289 of 41 overs af­ter play was de­layed twice. Nev­er­the­less, Pak­istan crum­bled un­der the im­mense pres­sure, and were duly bowled out for 164, with Azhar Ali (50 of 65 balls) and Mo­ham­mad Hafeez (33 of 43 ball) putting up the only re­sis­tance in a ruth­less In­dian dis­play. In­dia won the Group B en­counter, which South Africa is also apart of, by 124 runs on the Duck­worth-Lewis method and top the pool, ahead of the Proteas, on net run-rate.

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