The seemingly rejuvenating effects of Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki’s much-publicised breakup on their sporting endeavours makes a neat story.
However, amidst the media’s desire to see Wozniacki match her erstwhile romancer by landing one of the biggest tournaments in her sport, the claims of her US Open semi-final opponent Peng Shuai have been largely ignored.
The Dane with the Polish name is 13/50 for victory in the penultimate eliminator, yet the 14/5 underdog has a big chance of her own.
Peng is enjoying arguably the finest hardcourt campaign of her career this term with a 22/10 record and currently ranks number one on the ladies doubles scene to boot.
Since landing at Flushing Meadows, she hasn’t dropped a set in accounting for Zheng Jie, Agnieska Radwanksa, Roberta Vinci and exciting teenager Belinda Bencic.
A near-faultless serve has underwritten her progress and she has now gone 36 straight games without being broken.
Wozniacki’s 6-0, 6-1 battering of Sara Errani in the quarter finals was just the kind of chilling warning that makes bookies put up short price favourites.
Yet, the Errani is a well-known clay aficionado, who is often to be seen reeling groggily on the wrong end of such batterings from stronger and more hardcourt-savvy sisters.
Against adversaries with more muscle the Dane has had a tougher time asserting herself.
Taken the distance by Magdalena Rybarikova and Maria Sharapova en route to this stage, she gave up the second set for three games or less on both occasions.
Given Peng credits much of her improvement this season to a greater emphasis on her physical preparation, it seems certain that Wozniacki’s credentials will receive a similar examination once more in the last four.
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