Free and single-handed, Carla Suarez Navarro sets up Caroline Wozniacki clash
Carla Suarez Navarro struck a blow for one of many endangered pictures of ladies’s tennis as she used her single-handed backhand to nice impact to beat Estonian Anett Kontaveit and attain the Australian Open quarter-finals on Sunday.
The diminutive Spaniard dug herself out of a deep gap, hitting again from a set and two breaks of serve right down to win 4-6, 6-4, 8-6 on a muggy Rod Laver Arena and safe a clash with second seed Caroline Wozniacki.
Suarez Navarro is the one single-hander to succeed in the final 16 right here this yr and is the one member of the world’s prime 40 to not strike a double-fisted backhand.
Not since Francesca Schiavone received the 2010 French Open along with her single-handed backhand has the stroke introduced grand slam success for a girl, though earlier than that Justine Henin used it to devastating impact to win 4 French Opens in 5 years between 2003 and 2007.
Amelie Mauresmo was the final lady to win the Australian Open with a one-handed backhand, in 2006 when it additionally fired her to glory on the Wimbledon grasscourts.
Roger Federer’s 19 grand slam titles reside proof that single-handed backhands can nonetheless reign within the males’s facet along with his fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka profitable three slams along with his.
Men’s third seed Grigor Dimitrov and quantity 5 Dominic Thiem additionally personal trendy single-handers.
So the chances are stacked towards Suarez Navarro though the purists could hope she will be able to stick round slightly longer as the best way she executes her topspin stroke is a factor of magnificence.
Suarez Navarro hit solely two clear winners with it on Sunday but it surely was the inspiration on which she constructed victory.
“Maybe we can open a little bit more the court with the angle. Maybe we slice a little bit better,” the 29-year-old, who was impressed by Henin’s backhand, instructed reporters.
“But tennis goes to extra energy, quicker, and once you hit the ball with one hand, isn’t the identical as in case you hit with two.
“I believe it’s due to this. Years in the past all of the players play with one-handed. Now we’re dropping this backhand.”
Kontaveit was bidding to succeed in the final eight of a grand slam for the primary time and the 22-year-old had victory in her grasp when she took the primary set and led 4-1.
Unseeded Suarez Navarro was given coronary heart when Kontaveit double-faulted handy one break of serve again and the Spaniard stormed again, profitable six video games in a row.
The deciding set was an actual battle and Kontaveit once more regarded like closing it out when she broke at 4-4 however she faltered and was damaged as she served for the match.
Suarez Navarro loved an outrageous slice of luck when Kontaveit served to remain within the match at 6-7, placing a forehand that hit the online tape twice earlier than wobbling over to offer her a second match level.
She missed that one however on her third alternative Kontaveit smacked a forehand lengthy to ship Suarez Navarro into the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park for the third time.
Wozniacki gallops into Melbourne quarter-finals
Second seed Caroline Wozniacki wanted solely a shade over an hour to guide a quarter-final spot as she thrashed Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3 6-Zero.
The Dane dropped a mere six factors within the second set as she overwhelmed her 19th-seeded opponent to succeed in the final eight right here for the primary time since 2012.
Rybarikova truly gained the primary break of serve within the third sport however Wozniacki quickly settled into her rhythm and broke again instantly earlier than taking management.
Such was Wozniacki’s confidence she even produced a between the legs ‘tweener’ throughout the first set and though it didn’t win her the purpose it summed up her temper.
“I think you can tell my confidence is pretty good, I was pretty proud of that,” the 27-year-old, who might reclaim the world primary spot subsequent for the primary time in six years, stated on a muggy Rod Laver Arena.
“I’ve tried a few in practice but usually make a fool out of myself.”