x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Gritty Caroline Wozniacki keeps Australian Open hopes alive

The Dane battles back from losing the first set and trailing 3-1 in the second to beat Francesca Schiavone and reach the semi-finals.

Caroline Wozniacki clenches her fist after battling back to beat Fracesca Schiavone.
Caroline Wozniacki clenches her fist after battling back to beat Fracesca Schiavone.

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MELBOURNE // Caroline Wozniacki, the No 1 seed, dragged herself back from the brink to power into the semi-finals of the Australian Open with a gritty 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over a valiant Francesca Schiavone.

Down a set and trailing 3-1, the Dane shifted up a gear and burned through the next five games, sealing the second set when the Italian pushed a weak return down the tram-lines at Rod Laver Arena.

Schiavone, the No 6 seed, battled hard in the third, but the strain of her record-breaking match against Svetlana Kuznetsova in the fourth-round appeared to show as she gifted her opponent easy points with a raft of sprayed volleys and miscued drop-shots.

The Italian saved three match points and broke back to trail 5-3, but surrendered after 144 minutes on a fourth match point when her backhand flew just wide.

"Francesca is such a fighter," Wozniacki said. "She started really well and I didn't have my timing at the beginning but I fought back and I am so happy to have won the match.

"I didn't have too many chances in the first set and Francesca was very good at the key moments but I just tried to step into the court a bit more and dictate the points."

Wozniacki will play Li Na, who defeated Andrea Petkovic earlier, for a place in the final.