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Dubai Open extends Wozniacki fairytale

Wozniacki says more matches kept her ranking high. (REUTERS)


Caroline Wozniacki, the charismatic Danish teenager who has made a stunning leap to world number three, will achieve another career landmark at the Dubai Open this week.

The $2 million (Dh7.3m) Premier category tournament starting today is the largest so far at which Wozniacki has been top seed, something which may help her gain more ranking points to edge her nearer to the world number one position she says she can achieve.

The 19-year-old from the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen thus continues to write her own fairytale, though on this occasion the chapter is being written with the help of two bigger names.

Serena Williams and Dinara Safina, who fought for the year-end world number one spot until the last tournament of 2009, are still suffering from chronic ailments, and have withdrawn.

Williams has a persistently troublesome knee and Safina back problems lasting for several months, which makes Wozniacki's huge total of 90 matches last year look all the more remarkable. While many leading women have been increasingly careful about the number of matches they play, or have cut down their schedule to reduce the risk of injury, Wozniacki has played as much as she can.

"I had a lot of matches in each tournament. I think I can be happy about that," Wozniacki said, seemingly unaffected by the career-damaging problems of Williams and Maria Sharapova, or by the 18-month decline of Ana Ivanovic.

Wozniacki is more care-free. "I like playing matches. It feels like I'm on a go. I like being in a competition rather than only practising," she said, adding: "I think if I wouldn't have made so many matches, my ranking wouldn't be as high as it is today."

Wozniacki though may be more sanguine about her record as top seed. Only once in five attempts has she justified this status, while winning the Japan Open in 2008. She has been runner-up twice, losing to Victoria Azarenka in Memphis and to Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez in Bastad, a semi-finalist once, losing to Sam Stosur in Osaka, and a first round loser once, retiring against Anne Kremer in Luxembourg.


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