Caroline conquers the Kremlin

Woz’s biggest win of 2012, but that’s not saying much

Caroline Wozniacki will be mightily relieved following her victory in the final of the Kremlin Cup on Sunday – her first significant title of 2012 and only her second overall, compared to six in 2011.

It marks a return to form for the Dane, who last month won the KDB Korea Open, one of the lesser WTA tournaments that carry limited ranking points, at which Wozniacki, despite her world ranking of eleven, was the top seed.

In contrast, the Kremlin Cup in Russia actually featured two players above her in the rankings, and she needed to dig deep to see off one of them − Australia’s Samantha Stosur, the world number nine − 6–2, 4–6, 7–5 in the final.

It was a typically gutsy performance in which the Dane’s defence overcame the Aussie’s attack over three sets that included 13 breaks of serve.

Wozniacki’s fans shouldn’t get carried away, though. The Kremlin Cup might be one of the 22 Premier tournaments contested on the WTA tour, but it is one of the 12 lesser ones, carrying significantly fewer ranking points than the other ten and, of course, the four grand slams.

And it is the kind of tournament (mediocre prize fund, a handful of top 16 players if you’re lucky, normally preceding a more important one) that Wozniacki, during her rise to and reign over the number one spot, developed a forte for winning. Since the beginning of 2009, she has won seven of the lesser Premier tournaments, four more than anyone else in the women’s game.    

Nevertheless, despite the victory in Russia, for the first time since 2008, Wozniacki has failed to qualify for the year-end WTA Tour Championships, a tournament contested by the top eight in the world.

Next up for Little Miss Sunshine is a minor tournament in Bulgaria, which starts next Tuesday.