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Top-Seeded Wozniacki Fights Back for U.S. Open Win as Fish Exits

Serena Williams Hits a Backhand
Serena Williams plays a backhand against Victoria Azarenka on Saturday. Photographer: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Caroline Wozniacki, the women’s top seed, fought back from a set down to beat former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and advance to the U.S. Open quarterfinals.

Wozniacki won 12 of the last 14 games to pull out a 6-7 (6-8), 7-5, 6-1 victory at the National Tennis Center in New York. The Dane trailed 4-1 in the second set before mounting her comeback at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

It was Wozniacki’s fourth straight win over Kuznetsova, the 15th seed from Russia who won Grand Slam titles at the 2004 U.S. Open and 2009 French Open. She also beat Kuznetsova in three sets in the fourth round of the 2009 U.S. Open.

“I actually thought about the match we played two years ago and said, ‘I can do this, I can fight back,’” Wozniacki said in a televised interview. “I kept hanging in there.”

Wozniacki’s win came after three-time women’s champion Serena Williams and men’s top seed Novak Djokovic had straight-set victories to advance to the quarterfinals at the season’s final major championship.

Mardy Fish, the highest-seeded American in the men’s draw, was ousted in five sets by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France. Tsonga, seeded 11th, moved into the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 win.

Wozniacki, who didn’t drop a set over the first three rounds, blew a 5-2 lead against Kuznetsova in the first-set tiebreaker.

Second-Set Recovery

After falling 4-1 behind in the next set, Wozniacki won four straight games before missing a chance to level the match on her serve. Wozniacki recovered with a service break of her own before forcing a deciding set.

Having seized the momentum, Wozniacki won the first eight points of the final set and went on to close out the win in 3 hours, 2 minutes. Kuznetsova finished with 78 unforced errors to 26 for Wozniacki.

Wozniacki, who failed to reach the quarterfinals at the French Open and Wimbledon this year, advances to play 10th-seeded Andrea Petkovic of Germany, who won in straight sets over Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain.

Williams, 29, an American seeded 28th after two injury-marred years, won 6-3, 6-4 in swirling 20 mph (32 kph) wind.

“Oh, man, it was crazy, I just didn’t even go for winners at some points,” Williams, who has lost 17 games in eight sets so far in New York, said in a news conference. “I was just trying to get it over because it was so windy. It just kind of swirls down there.”

She’ll next play Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, the 17th seed who upset the women’s seventh seed, Francesca Schiavone of Italy, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the round of eight.

All-Serb Matchup

Djokovic fought off four set points in a tiebreaker en route to a 7-6 (16-14), 6-4, 6-2 win against Alexandr Dolgopolov, the 22nd seed from Ukraine.

Djokovic will face fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic, the 20th seed, in the quarterfinals. Tipsarevic had a four-set win against Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain.

“There’s going to be at least one Serb in the semifinals, which is great for our country,” Djokovic said in a televised courtside interview. “This is the first time I play Janko in a Grand Slam. We’re great friends, it’s not going to be easy playing him.”

Five-time men’s champion Roger Federer of Switzerland is scheduled to play tonight’s final match against Juan Monaco of Argentina. Because Wozniacki’s win ended at about 11:30 p.m. New York time, Federer’s match will likely extend well after midnight in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The Federer-Monaco winner meets Tsonga, who won the final two sets to eliminate Fish, who was seeking to become the first American man to reach the quarterfinals since he reached that stage with Andy Roddick in 2008.

Fish’s exit leaves three Americans in the men’s draw. Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion and No. 21 seed, plays his fourth-round match tomorrow, as do No. 28 John Isner and wild-card qualifier Donald Young.

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