Caroline Wozniacki, playing her penultimate tournament before retirement, faces a quarterfinal clash with Julia Goerges, the powerful German who is going for her third consecutive ASB Classic Auckland title.
Caroline Wozniacki vs Julia Goerges is live from Auckland on Friday 10 January at 3.30pm local/2.30am GMT
Goerges won the International-level event in 2018 and 2019 and is aiming to become the first player in the tournament’s history to win three ASB Classic titles in a row.
It was Goerges who denied Wozniacki the Auckland title in 2018 when they faced off in the final, and the Dane, who has twice reached the ASB Classic final but fallen short in the title match, would no doubt dearly love some revenge.
Wozniacki announced during the off-season that she intended to retire after the 2020 Australian Open to move on to a new phase of her life with husband David Lee, but the former world no. 1 has demonstrated already in Auckland that she’s not here just to wave goodbye. Wozniacki had insisted before the tournament began that she had prepared to compete here and at the Australian Open, and so far she’s proved her point. Wozniacki and partner Serena Williams are into the semifinals of the women’s doubles and after breezing past local wildcard Paige Hourigan 6-1, 6-0, Wozniacki was made to work hard by former champion Lauren Davis in the second round.
Although Wozniacki won the first set 6-1 in straightforward fashion, Davis came roaring back and broke Wozniacki to serve for the second set. Wozniacki broke back, but was unable to prevent Davis from taking another break to level the match, then had to come back from 1-3 down in the decider for a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 victory in two hours and 20 minutes.
‘I got a little lucky in the end and it could have gone both ways,’ Wozniacki said. ‘She’s a great player and she fought very hard today but so did I.
‘When you’re playing well and your opponents played well, and you push each other to play at a high level. Those are the fun matches to play.’
Judging by their history, it won’t get much easier for Wozniacki as she takes on the defending champion and third seed in the quarterfinals.
Goerges is now on a 12-match winning streak in Auckland and has a 27-8 record at the tournament overall; she also has yet to drop a set at the ASB Classic this year, beating qualifier Greet Minnen 6-1, 7-6(4) and Jil Teichmann, who won two WTA Tour titles in 2019, 6-3, 6-2.
The powerful German revived her singles career in 2017, a year she also faced Wozniacki in the ASB Classic quarterfinals, and went on to rise to a career-high ranking of world no. 9 in August 2019 after reaching her first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon. Now possessed of seven WTA Tour career titles – five of which have come in the past three years – Goerges had some injury issues in 2019 and only compiled a 27-20 win-loss record, but still reached three WTA Tour finals, winning Auckland when she beat Bianca Andreescu and going on to finish runner-up to Ash Barty in Birmingham and Jelena Ostapenko in Luxembourg.
Over the past nine years, Goerges and Wozniacki have played ten times and it’s the German who leads the head-to-head 6-4: After losing their first two matches, Goerges beat Wozniacki in the Stuttgart final in 2011 and has gone on to defeat her twice more on clay and three times on hard courts. This will be the fourth time they have played in Auckland, with Wozniacki’s last singles victory over Goerges coming at the ASB Classic in 2015 and the German winning in the 2017 quarterfinals and 2018 final. As a general rule, Goerges’s big serve and aggressive skills – she attacks the net very well – have prevailed over Wozniacki’s defense and consistency. Goerges has also clearly mastered the conditions in Auckland, which are often difficult for some players. Wozniacki does have nothing to lose, but that may not be enough for the Dane to secure her first win over Goerges in four years.