NEW YORK -- Caroline Wozniacki continued her confident summer form, defeating No. 5 seed Maria Sharapova 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 to advance to her first Slam quarterfinal since 2012 and first at the U.S. Open since 2011. The former number shrugged off the swirling wind, a poor second set, and then Sharapova, as she notched just her third top ten win of the season. Since losing in the first round of the French Open, Wozniacki is 23-5. She will play 13th seed Sara Errani next.
Played in humid and windy conditions, both players struggled with their serve and control through a back and forth first set before Sharapova blinked and played a poor service game get broken for the set. The Russian, who had a chance to rise as high as No. 2 at this tournament, quickly rebounded to dominate in the second set. She hit 22 winners and kept Wozniacki on the run to force a third set but couldn't maintain her momentum after the players took at 10-minute break due to the tournament's extreme heat policy. When they returned to court, Wozniacki was rejuvenated and focused. She played a remarkable return game at 2-1 to break Sharapova at love and never looked back. She finished the two hour and 37 minute match in style, firing a backhand down the line winner on match point.
"By the end of the second set I just thought to myself, Try to hit through the ball," Wozniacki said. "Just go for your shots. You know, prepare yourself for the third set. You know, when we had that break and I went -- I said, Okay, win or lose, I'm going to go for my shots. I'm going to go for it. This is the only chance I have to win. If I'm going to lose, at least I'm going to do it with dignity."
Wozniacki finished with 22 winners to 17 unforced errors, while Sharapova cracked under her defensive pressure in the final frame and finished the match with 39 winners to 43 unforced errors. Since winning the French Open, Sharapova has not advanced past the fourth round of the last two Slams of the season.
"I think I just stopped doing what helped me get advantage of the points in the second set," Sharapova said. "I hit a good shot and I allowed her to get back in the point instead of looking to come in. Whether I hit a swinging volley or hit a approach shot, give myself a advantage situation. She's very good at getting a lot of balls back and making you hit another one. In the end, I went for a little too much."
Wozniacki rated the win as one of the biggest of her career. "Maria obviously is a tough competitor," she said. "She's won here before. She won the French Open this year. You know, it was a really good win for me. Beating her here at the US Open, you know, it's a tough task. I'm really happy to be through and have another chance to play in the next round."