AUCKLAND: Caroline Wozniacki declared she was preparing for a “great” Australian Open as she closed in on regaining the world top ranking despite a surprise defeat in the WTA Auckland Classic final on Sunday.
The 27-year-old Dane is projected to rise to number two in the world when the new rankings are released on Monday and if results go her way in Australia she could make a record-setting return to number one, a position she last held six years ago.
The current record for the longest gap between being ranked number one is held by Serena Williams who spent five years and 29 days off the top spot between August 10, 2003, and September 8, 2008.
Although beaten 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) by world number 14 Julia Goerges in the Auckland final, Wozniacki said her preparation for Melbourne was on track.
“I’ve got a lot of matches under my belt this week, it was the preparation I hoped for,” she said. “Now I can take a day off tomorrow and fly to Melbourne and get used to courts over there, and the conditions, and hopefully it’s going to be a great couple of weeks. Everyone wants to be number one, but it’s something I’ve done before and obviously it would be nice to do it again, but honestly, I think I’m just thinking about being in the finals, holding trophies, lifting trophies.”
Wozniacki started last year ranked number 19 and by the end of the year, after winning the WTA Finals, she had risen to number three.
Meanwhile, Goerges is expected to rise from 14 to 12 when the next rankings come out as she enjoys a rich vein of form having won three consecutive tournaments.
She is on a 14-match winning streak with her success in Auckland following victories in Moscow and Zhuhai WTA tournaments late last year.
The 29-year-old German troubled Wozniacki with a big forehand that produced service breaks at the start of each set and a booming serve that delivered 11 aces.
Goerges dropped her serve once, at 4-3 in the second set, but never felt her form was dropping.
“It means you have to be there right away in the next game. I didn’t break her but I showed her I was still there and I was very happy that I could serve well at the end,” she said.