Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki captures No. 1 ranking with win at China Open

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki captured the world's No. 1 ranking with a win Thursday at the China Open, replacing Serena Williams in the top spot.

Wozniacki accomplished the feat with a 6-3, 6-3 win over No. 34 Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic in the third round in Beijing.

"This is a real big step for me. To be the world No. 1 has always been a dream for me," Wozniacki said. "It doesn't feel like it's real."

The 20-year-old Dane, who turned pro five years ago, was broken twice in the first set, but held firm to the reins, breaking her opponent six times avenging Kvitova's 6-2, 6-0 win against her in the fourth round at Wimbledon this year.

The rise to No. 1 comes in a season during which Wozniacki reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros and the U.S. Open semifinals. Wozniacki has 11 career tour singles titles under her belt and is the top seed in Beijing.

Having become the 20th woman to hold the top spot, winning a Grand Slam event was the next target, Wozniacki said. "That would be like a dream come true."

Williams, this year's Australian Open and Wimbledon champion, pulled out of Beijing due to a nagging foot injury.

Wozniacki faces off in Friday's quarter-final against Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, who downed seventh seeded Elena Dementieva of Russia, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4).

In the men's bracket, second-seeded Andy Murray was into the quarter-finals with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Albert Montanes. He'll play Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia, who beat Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine, 6-3, 7-6 (2).

Third-seeded Robin Soderling of Sweden was tested on his way to a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 win over Spain's Nicolas Almagro. The Roland Garros runner-up fired 22 aces to Almagro's 18 on the way to beating him for the first time in three attempts.

"I think we both served really well, especially on all the important points," said the fifth-ranked Soderling, who will face eighth-seeded David Ferrer. The Spaniard racked up his 50th match victory with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 over Taiwan's Lu Yen-hsun.

Lu, who this year became the first Asian man to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon since 1995, broke Ferrer three times, but was overpowered in the third set.

Women's No. 2 seed Vera Zvonareva dropped the first set against fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko, but battled back for the 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 win.

"Against a player as great as Maria, if you give her unforced errors she will take the opportunity," said Zvonareva, who will play fifth-seeded Francesca Schiavone. "I kept trying to go for my shots but be more patient, and fight for every point."

Local fans had something to cheer about with China's Li Na taking just 47 minutes to beat Germany's Angelique Kerber, 6-2, 6-0, setting up a quarter-final match with Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, who got a free pass after 13th seeded Russian Nadia Petrova withdrew due to injury.

"Angelique plays quite flat and I don't like that, but after the first set it was easier. I took my chance because I wanted to finish the match fast," said Li, who last reached the quarter-finals in 2006.

The other quarter-final Friday will be 15th-seeded Shahar Peer against Timea Bacsinszky.

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