--Caroline Wozniacki, finalist in last year's U.S. Open and #1 ranked woman in this year's Open.
Wozniacki breezed through the first set in her quarterfinal match with Dominika Cibulkova, as she has in every one of her matches so far in New York, winning 6-2, 7-5. Cilbulkova and Wozniacki had to suffer through a windy evening that affected both of their games. It was the first time in five matches that a player has taken more than four games in a set from Wozniacki in this Open. This was her 13th straight match win and she is 18-1 since Wimbledon.
"It felt like we were playing in a hurricane or something," Wozniacki said. "But it was the same for both players. I'm happy to get through."
The Dane is aggressive and one of the best defensive players. She is known for her "counter-punches." She wins points by forcing opponent errors and energetically running down balls. Her speed and athleticism allow her to retrieve most balls hit by her opponent. On Wednesday, the top-seeded played an aggressive game and controlled many of the points.
Wozniacki was a surprise runner-up to Kim Clijsters at last year's Open. This year she defeated former champion Maria Sharapova 6-3 6-4 Monday to reach the quarter-finals.
"I definitely think I've improved a lot, not only physically, but also I believe in myself more. I believe I can do it," she said. "Also I think I can mix up my game a little bit more than I could last year."
Boxing is one of Wozniacki's off-court interests and the 20-year-old's training includes boxing for conditioning.
"Boxing, it's just a different way for me to work out," she told reporters after her 6-2 7-5 quarter-final victory. "I'm really competitive. I really don't like losing."
Excerpts taken from www.nypost.com (8/29/2010) and Reuters.com.
For more on performance psychology, click on The Handbook of Peak Performance.