It’s probably not what Caroline Wozniacki expected for her first Grand Slam semifinal. The start time was delayed until 9:30 p.m. due to the weather. (And, to add insult to injury, there was another 12-minute rain delay after the very first point.) The match was moved to Armstrong (and away from the TV cameras) and run simultaneously with the highly anticipated meeting of Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters, which drew most of the relatively few people left on the grounds and which, understandably, grabbed all the headlines this morning. All of this was a recipe for an extremely odd, echo-filled atmosphere in the cool damp, with only a couple hundred spectators in a stadium that seats 10,000 and the music from Ashe bouncing off the stands.
But she smilingly survived even those less-than-ideal conditions, beating the talented, hard-hitting, but error-prone Yanina Wickmeyer, 6-3, 6-3. She’ll play Clijsters in the women’s final tonight–in televised primetime (though on ESPN2, not CBS), and in front of a big, big crowd on Ashe.
Wozniacki will have to play her best tennis to beat Clijsters, who will take full advantage of her relatively weak serve. Wozniacki’s first serve percentage was fine–65%–but the average speed of those serves was only 91 miles per hour, while Clijsters had a higher percentage and an average speed of 104 miles per hour. And unlike last night, the pressure will be on. After the match, Wozniacki told reporters about the match’s low attendance, “Maybe actually it was easier, because, you know, you didn’t really feel the thing that you’re in the semifinals.” It’s quite certain that tonight she’ll really feel she’s in a U.S. Open final.