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The untold feat of Caroline Wozniacki in Singapore

World's number six Caroline Wozniacki defeats Karolina Pliskova of France, 2-0, to clinch the first seat of the WTA Finals 2017 title match. Sky Sports (file photo)

By Kristoffer Bellen

CAROLINE Wozniacki is undoubtedly one of the least expected to win the 2017 Women’s Tennis Association Finals’ coveted trophy but here are the reasons why the world number six can take a good shot for the title.

Apart from looking to be the first ever Danish woman tennis player ever to be crowned as the WTA Finals champion, Wozniacki sure has many more things to settle heading into this year’s WTA’s season-ending tour at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

After finishing sixth (4,640 points) by trailing with only two points behind America’s Venus Williams (4,642) in the women’s tennis most prestigious event sponsored by the BNP Paribas, Wozniacki had given at least everything she has since Day 1 of the tournament.

Although Wozniacki ended her single round-robin match with a disappointing 0-6, 6-3, 7-5 setback against eighth seed and co-semifinalist Caroline Garcia of France when she failed to serve it out at 5-3 in the final set, the 27-year old had become a silent assassin in mastering the art of services in the tours just quite recently.

Coming off a quiet season from Wozniacki, who managed to only grab one WTA singles title this year at the Toray Pan Pacific Open at Tokyo, Japan last month, the former world number one made a stunning stint in the closing tournament of 2017.

Always at her service

Prior to her semifinal faceoff against third seed Karolina Pliskova earlier, whom she shut down 2-0 (6-3, 7-6), Wozniacki has seen asserting her supremacy at the grandest stage of women’s tours after topping the other seven co-WTA Finalists in terms of service aces in the three contests of the single-round robin matches.

Wozniacki scored 12 of his points in the elimination phase, off an average of 4 service aces per match.

Of all the dozen of service aces fired by Wozniacki in three games, her dominance in the serving department only failed her once – against Garcia who was riding a momentous event at the Lion City and recorded nine aces in her own first three games.

The 2010 WTA Finalist currently displays an almost perfect run in dominating all of her foes by means of services.

Although she committed six double faults in the early-going of the eight-day tournament stretch and averaged 63.8 percent of her first serve percentage, a quite lower statistic from her season average of 67.6 percent, she nevertheless had the most impressive number of services won, quality and quantity wise.

Wozniacki improved her season average of 58.3 percent of service points won this week to a plus-5 percentage after boasting 62.8 percent.

What is more impressive is that whenever Wozniacki is serving, she wins almost all of her service games (82.1 percent).

Her dominant semifinal upset victory to spoil Pliskova’s chances on being the top seed at the end of the season is the latest proof to what is now a seemingly untold feat of the former.

Rampant Wozniacki outscored Pliskova in the aces department after tallying five service aces against the latter’s four.

However, it does not end there as the Odense, Denmark-born and raised star weathered her three double faults in the after storming winning 61 percent of her first services.

Wozniacki just did what she usually does after taking 54 percent of the total service points in the one-hour and 56-minute winner-take-all.

From all sides of the court

One thing put Wozniacki to qualify in the championship match all tournament-long and that was dominance.

The only offensive statistic where Wozniacki did not prevail was the first serve percentage, and that is because she finished in the top four competitors who had the most number of double faults committed in the eliminations – behind Williams, Garcia, and Pliskova.

However, aside from the fact that these four happened to be this year’s semifinalists, an interesting aspect that was rarely observed was Wozniacki winning all sides of the court.

Based from the computed statistics by the SAP Tennis Analytics, presented by SC Global, Wozniacki won not only the service department but all other aspects of the game, good for the WTA Finals.

Wozniacki boosted all of her season averages in the return points won, break points saved, break points converted, and return games won.

When returning, Wozniacki won 52.6 percent of every rally on return points to overtake her season average of 47.3 percent.

Moreover, when in a return game, Wozniacki does not shatter as well after averaging 55.6 percent in three games, a plus-12 in her season average of 42.8 percent.

Against Pliskova, Wozniacki played 10 return games after serving 11 times and while she had lesser time playing in return, she managed to win 50 percent of her first return points.

But, the biggest factor of her making it through her second WTA Finals title match is the breakpoints that she saved and converted.

Wozniacki derailed Pliskova after saving almost seven-tenths of her breakpoints while winning 56 percent of her breakpoints, as well.

For a composed Wozniacki, though, it was just a regular night for the past few days as she already put up impressive feats prior to the knockout stages.

In the round-robin matches, Wozniacki saved 10 of her 15 breakpoints while converting 68.2 percent on the other hand.

Ace or fail

However, the biggest challenge for the young Wozniacki has yet to come this week so far as she battles Williams in a tournament-clinching finale to end the 2017 WTA season as the former just toppled Garcia in a three-setter, 6-7, 6-2, 6-3, as of press time.

Williams, who at 37 years old returned to the WTA Finals this year since 2009, made a statement that she is here to get back on track.

The elder Williams redeemed herself after a gruesome setback in the opener against Pliskova after propelling her way through two power hitters in Jelena Ostapenko and GarbiƱe Muguruza.
Venus Williams returns to the WTA Finals title match after eight years when she faces Caroline Wozniacki on Sunday. Sports Canyon (file photo)
As per Courtney Nguyen of WTA Insider, “Venus is the only player in the field without a title this season.”

Therefore, there’s no sweeter victory for the 2008 champion to end her year with a trophy.

Nevertheless, Wozniacki regains another chance to win a WTA Finals trophy after bowing down against Kim Clijsters seven years ago at Doha, Qatar.

Whether who will ace or fail between the world's current fifth and sixth players will only be answered on Sunday.

The views and opinions expressed by the writer does not necessarily reflect those of Dugout Philippines.

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