Wozniacki: ‘Clay isn’t my favorite but … I’m hitting the ball well’

At ROLAND GARROS, DAY 4 – The former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki crushed the Canadian Francoise Abanda 6-0, 6-0 in the second round. While she has never loved clay, she has learned to mix up her shots. She has never gone deep in Paris, but the veteran wants to shake the stigma of being No. 1 without a Grand Slam trophy in her case.

She’s 26 years old, and she has reached the final at the US Open. What has held her back? Her forehand is so-so, and her second serve is pretty weak. Beyond that, her backhand is tremendous and she is incredibly fast — still.

But can she win a major here? I doubt it, but at least she is changing her strokes. At least today.

“I played consistent, aggressive when I needed to and mixed it up,” she said.

In the past three weeks, Wozniaki’s body almost disappeared. But she has recovered so now, she could actually reach the semis for the first time.

“At the end of the day I feel good, came in here feeling comfortable and confident,” she said. “Clay isn’t my favorite surface, but at the same time, I feel like I’m hitting the ball well.”

Two days ago, Kristina Mladenovic was exhausted after she came through her first match in three hours. Today, she blew out Sara Errani 6-2 6-3. Now the Frenchwoman has a real chance to go very deep but … she has to face American Shelby Rogers, who beat Cagla Buyukakcay. Rogers has been around for a while, but without a doubt, her fine-tuned game is there and she was a shot to upended Mladenovic.

How about the 18-year-old CiCi Bellis who beat Kiki Bertens 6-3 7-6(5)? Bertens had just won a title a few days ago and she thought she could reach in the second week. Uh, uh. The American Bellis is getting better daily and she has already cracked the top 50. The top 40 is coming soon.

Before the start of the tournament, many people thought the 2016 Roland Garros champion Garbine Muguruza was going to lose early. In the past year, she has not won any tournaments at all. But when she arrived in RG, she became very excited again and on court, she ran as fast as she can and ripped the ball. She overcame Anett Kontaveit in three tough sets and now, she is finally confident again.

Is she the favorite? She is very close, but first she has to beat Yulia Putintseva in the third round, which won’t be easy.

The vetrean Bethanie Mattek-Sands upset Petra Kvitova 7-6(5) 7-6(5). This ends the fairy tale comeback of Kvitova, who won her first match here after recovering from the in-home attack that seriously injured her playing hand.

The Arizonan was very aggressive off both sides, as was Sam Stosur, who beat Kirsten Flipkens. Both the 30-years-olds will go up against each other on Friday. They know each other very well. Massive forehands will be teed up …

The Canadian Milos Raonic thinks he has a chance to win RG. But, even though he has a number of big wins on the hard courts and grass, he has struggled on clay. Maybe it’s time. Raonic beat Rogerio Dutra Silva 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-4. Roanic is quite confident now, even as he could face Grigor Dimitrov, who upended Tommy Robredo 6-3 6-4 7-5. He is pretty confortable.

Rafa Nadal trounced Robin Haase 6-1 6-4 6-3. The nine-time RG champ is favored to win the event, but there are plenty of challenges ahead.

Novak Djokovic looked very steady, blasting Joao Sousa 6-1 6-4 6-3. I would be stunned if he doesn’t reach the semis again. We all know that Djokovic crushed Dominic Thiem two weeks ago, but maybe the Belgian will change everything. Perhaps.

A great win by Steve Johnson over Borna Coric 6-2 7-6(8) 3-6 7-6(6), and a bad loss by the Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who fell in four sets vs. Renzo Olivo. Tsonga should have made a statement here.

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