Wozniacki confirms year-end world No. 1 spot

Caroline Wozniacki guaranteed herself the year-end world No. 1 ranking with an unpredictable victory over French Open winner Francesca Schiavone at the WTA Championships.

Wozniacki went into the Doha tournament requiring two wins to secure the top ranking going into 2011, and after beating Elena Dementieva earlier in the week, she added the scalp of Schiavone on Thursday. The Danish 20-year-old had to dig deep though, losing the first set before triumphing 3-6 6-1 6-1.

In the context of the WTA Championships, victory also means Wozniacki progresses from the competition's Maroon Group into the semi-finals, at the expense of both Schiavone and Dementieva. As the youngest player in the competition, she will now seek a seventh title of the season.

"It's something I've dreamed about since I was a little girl," Wozniacki said of her world No.1 status. "I'm really happy and just really proud of everything I've achieved this year."

It appeared Wozniacki may let her opportunity slip when Schiavone showed the superior clinical edge in set one, converting her solitary break chance as Wozniacki wasted two of her own. The youngster was handing her Italian rival too many looks at the second serve, but that soon changed.

Operating with a first-serve success rate of over 70 percent in the final two sets, Wozniacki stormed to victory in a little over two hours, greeting the result with a gleeful pump of the fist.

She will be joined in the last four by Samantha Stosur, who secured the set she needed against Elena Dementieva to book her place in the Doha semi-finals earlier in the evening. Having already won her opening two matches, Stosur could afford to lose in three sets in her final round robin encounter, and she did just that as Dementieva triumphed 4-6 6-4 7-6(4).

The Australian has been in fine form during the course of the week, winning her opening matches in straight sets, including a 6-4 6-3 victory over Wozniacki. And she did exactly what she needed to do before losing focus against Dementieva, taking the first set to guarantee her place in the last four.

Dementieva's second serve is always susceptible to errors, and a double fault handed Stosur the first break of the match. The Russian did level matters but another unforced error, this time on the backhand, gifted Stosur the opening set.

A brilliant exchange at the net, won by former doubles specialist Stosur, got the second set off to an enthralling start, but a weak backhand into the net from the Australian allowed Dementieva to draw level at one set all. A big serve then wrapped things up in the third, handing Dementieva revenge for her US Open loss to Stosur.

In the White Group, Kim Clijsters confirmed her presence in the last four, surviving a second-set fightback from Victoria Azarenka to win 6-4 5-7 6-1. Azarenka broke three times to level matters at one set apiece, but she lost over half of the points on her own serve in the decisive stanza as Clijsters roared to victory.

The result means Belgian star Clijsters has now won two out of two, while Azarenka and Jelena Jankovic have both recorded back-to-back losses. Vera Zvonareva also advances to the semi-finals.

Source: espn.co.uk

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