Caroline Wozniacki shares key to upsetting Elena Rybakina after saving 2 MPs in 2R

Wozniacki reflects on saving match points against Leylah Fernandez and playing Rybakina in the Wimbledon third round.

by Dzevad Mesic
Caroline Wozniacki shares key to upsetting Elena Rybakina after saving 2 MPs in 2R
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Caroline Wozniacki says she will pretty much have to deliver a near-perfect performance and do well in all aspects to have a shot at upsetting Elena Rybakina after surviving a thriller Wimbledon second-round match. 

On Thursday, former world No. 1 Wozniacki - who came out of retirement last summer - turned back the clock and finished on top in a very dramatic finish as she saved two match points en route to beating 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez 6-3 2-6 7-5. 

As a reward, 2018 Australian Open champion Wozniacki will get a chance to play next against 2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina. When Wozniacki, 33, and 25-year-old Rybakina meet on Saturday, it will be their first meeting. 

After winning Wimbledon in 2022 and also being a quarterfinalist last year, No. 4 seed Rybakina is again among the top favorites for the title and Wozniacki is aware of that. 

“That’s gonna be a tough one. I gotta serve well, return well, move well, do everything well for a chance to beat her," Wozniacki said when asked about facing Rybakina next.

Caroline Wozniacki
Caroline Wozniacki© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Wozniacki on saving two match points versus Fernandez

At 3-3 in the third set, Wozniacki wanted the match suspended due to darkness and her wish was granted. Then, the match was moved from Court 12 to Court 1 and Wozniacki and Fernandez continued their match around an hour later. 

When the match continued, Fernandez won the opening six points and led 4-3 and had 0-30 on Wozniacki's serve. Just when it seemed that the 21-year-old Canadian will get a break and get a chance to serve out for the match, the former world No. 1 saved two break points in that game and managed to tie the decider to four games apiece.

After Fernandez served out the ninth game to go 5-4 up, she had two match points on Wozniacki's serve but the 33-year-old Dane stepped up big time on those points and managed to survive the game. 
Fernandez then paid the price for not converting her opportunities as Wozniacki broke the Canadian in the 11th game for a 6-5 lead before realizing her first match point in the following game to seal a thriller win in just less than two and a half hours of play. 

Following her win, Wozniacki acknowledged that Fernandez was a very difficult opponent before adding that her experience probably played a part in her finding a way to win. 

“It was so difficult today. The outside court was windy. Then it got dark. Then we were told maybe we’d go here. Maybe Centre Court. Maybe we’d play tomorrow. At the end of the day I tried to stay focused. I thought both of us played at a high level. She came out firing. I think she won the first six points or something. I kept digging deep and found some good serves. I think I got a little lucky today," Wozniacki reflected. 

“I think definitely my experience helped me on days like today. I’ve been out here for a few years now. I feel less pressure. I’m enjoying myself, enjoying the moment, I get to play on these big courts in front of these amazing crowds. I just love it. I really don’t take anything for granted."

Can Wozniacki now upset Rybakina?

So far this grass season, Wozniacki has been playing well despite her Birmingham first-round loss in the opening week. After an early Birmingham loss, the Dane beat Elina Svitolina en route to making the Bad Homburg quarterfinal - in which she had a lead before slipping on the grass and retiring injured against Emma Navarro. 

Now, Wozniacki has won her opening two matches at Wimbledon and she is definitely feeling well about her game. 

Caroline Wozniacki
Caroline Wozniacki© Getty Images Sport - Sean M. Haffey

When it comes to Rybakina, she retired in Berlin two weeks ago due to illness before defeating Arantxa Rus in her Wimbledon opener and needing three sets to beat Laura Siegemund 6-3 3-6 6-3 on Thursday.

While Rybakina enters the match as the favorite, lately she has had some issues with her health and she didn't win convincingly against Siegemund, which means that there could be a chance for Wozniacki if she delivers a good performance. 

Caroline Wozniacki Elena Rybakina Leylah Fernandez