Wednesday 26 June 2013
Caroline Wozniacki, the ninth seed and world No.1 as recently as 18 months ago, became another of the leading contenders for the ladies’ singles title to lose early at The Championships 2013, beaten 6-2, 6-2 on No.2 Court by qualifier, Petra Cetkovska.
Perhaps the score comes as less of a surprise when it is taken into account that the 28-year-old Czech stood as high in the rankings as 25 a year ago until laid low by a right ankle injury and that it was another case of foot damage, this time to Wozniacki’s left ankle in the fourth game of the opening set, which clearly had some bearing on the result.
Even at that early stage, however, Cetkovska, who had lost their two previous meetings in straight sets, looked comfortably the better equipped to reach the third round, possibly because she had already come through three qualifying matches and a first round without dropping a single set.
The Czech’s right knee was heavily strapped and there was more bandaging on her left thigh but there was certainly nothing wrong with her movement or confidence, making nonsense of her ranking of 196.
Wozniacki is, of course, famously the girlfriend of top golfer Rory McIlroy and as she moved on to court for the warm-up she was greeted by a chorus of “Let’s go Rory, let’s go”.
If the intention from the group of male supporters was intended to help, it did not do much good. The Dane dropped serve in the third game and at deuce in the next game she fell and sat for a long time clutching her left ankle before calling for treatment.
The delay lasted eight minutes, and on the resumption the Czech concentrated on moving her ailing opponent around the court as much as possible. Though Wozniacki seemed comfortable enough on the baseline she did not attempt to run down drop shots and lost the next three games, at which point she changed her racket and managed to hold serve. It was a brief respite, however, as Cetkovska captured the opening set after 38 minutes.
Leading 2-1 in the second set, the Dane added extra bandaging herself to her foot, but if it eased any discomfort it made no difference to the score as the rampant Czech, playing only her fourth tournament of the year, swept five games in succession.
It was typical of her afternoon that Wozniacki went match point down by making a complete hash of a smash and then struck a tame forehand into the net after one hour 15 minutes.
Wozniacki admitted that the injury had affected her “quite a bit”. After paying tribute to Cetkovska’s “smart play” she added, “But when you can’t play 100 per cent it’s difficult. What I am most concerned about right now is to get fit again so I can compete on a high level.”
She explained that the injury has more to do with a tendon close to her Achilles, and asked if she considered the court dangerous, said “I don’t know. I don’t know if I was unlucky because I slipped straight on, which I wasn’t expecting. Normally on the grass you can expect to slide on the sides with your foot, but when you have a full grip with your shoes you should be able to stand comfortably. I don’t know if the court is a little bit more slippery or what exactly it is but it’s not fun to be out there when you feel like you really can’t push off on your foot.
“You always know that grass is more slippery than other surfaces, you’re prepared for that. But accidents happen sometimes on court. It’s part of sports, you can’t do much about it.”
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