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Rediff.com  » Sports » 'Little Princess' Caroline Wozniacki enjoys Doha coronation

'Little Princess' Caroline Wozniacki enjoys Doha coronation

Last updated on: October 29, 2010 14:00 IST

'Little Princess' Caroline Wozniacki enjoys Doha coronation

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A cramp-ridden Caroline Wozniacki lay twisted and tortured on the hardcourt of Doha in October 2009 but 12 months later she is certain to leave the same venue as the year-end world number one.

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What a difference a year makes.

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A year older, wiser and stronger, Wozniacki has been transformed into one of the most powerful players in women's tennis, a fearsome baseline brawler with the lungs and heart to run her opponents into the ground.

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Image: Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark smiles during a workout at the Indian Wells WTA tennis tournament
Photographs: Reuters
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The completion of a metamorphosis

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Completion of this metamorphosis came on Thursday when the 20-year-old Dane sealed the year-end number one ranking by beating Italian Francesca Schiavone at the $4.55 million season-ending tournament in the Qatari capital.

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"Last year I came into this tournament a little bit injured. I think that made my body work a little bit harder for everything," Wozniacki told reporters after her 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 win over Schiavone at the Khalifa Tennis Complex.

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"This year I feel like I'm fit, I'm feeling well, feeling good physically. I've been working really hard off the court as well and that's paid off. I'm really happy about that."


Image: Caroline Wozniacki reacts after losing a point during her match against Maria Sharapova of Russia at Hong Kong

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Wozniacki is dubbed the 'Little Princess' back home

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Dubbed the 'Little Princess' back home, Wozniacki endured a three-hour battle against Victoria Azarenka in her opening game last year, then went the distance with Vera Zvonareva in a match that yielded blood, sweat and tears.

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After the Russian's nose started to ooze blood in the second set, Wozniacki was pole-axed by cramp in her heavily-strapped left thigh and was barely able to hobble to the net to shake hands after her three-set win.

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The Dane would later retire with an abdominal strain after the first set of her semi-final against Serena Williams.


Image: Caroline Wozniacki poses beside a Christmas tree after a news conference introducing players for the upcoming Tennis Classic in Hong Kong

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'I've had a great season'

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There would be no such injury problems for Wozniacki this year, however, as the beaming blonde celebrated ending the year as the world's top-ranked player.

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The tears of last season have been replaced by steely eyes, iron will and canary-yellow nail polish.

"I've had a great season. I've played some good matches here and now I can end the year at No. 1 it's a really great feeling," said Wozniacki.

"I'm only the 10th one to finish the year as No. 1 so I'm really proud of what I've achieved."


Image: Caroline Wozniacki posses with the women's world number one trophy after defeating Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic at the China Open

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Some have questioned her right to be number one

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Wozniacki, the youngest player in the Doha field, has won six titles this season and claimed the number one ranking earlier this month after reaching the quarter-finals of the China Open.

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While some have questioned her right to be crowned world number one without winning a grand slam, Wozniacki knows there will always be sceptics no matter what she does.

"For me the most important thing is I know I've had a great season," she said.

"I've won six tournaments so far and my friends and family are the ones that mean the most to me. That's what I care about."


Image: Caroline Wozniacki holds small souvenir boats during their WTA Tour Championships tennis match in Doha

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Wozniacki needed two wins at Doha

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Wozniacki needed two wins at the $4.55 million tournament in the Qatari capital to ensure she could not be caught at the top of the rankings by Russian Zvonareva.

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After blowing away Dementieva in her group opener, the Dane suffered a shock defeat to Stosur on Wednesday to give Zvonareva hope. However, the 20-year-old made no mistake against Schiavone.

"Francesca was playing really good in the first set and I didn't have too many chances to break her," said Wozniacki in a court-side interview.

"I just hung in there and kept my focus, tried to get a little more aggressive and not let her dictate the game in the second and third."


Image: Caroline Wozniacki attends the draw for the WTA Tour Championships in Doha

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'It's something I've dreamed about since I was a little girl'

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Wozniacki was delighted to finish the year as the world's top player.

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"That's something I've dreamed about since I was a little girl," she beamed.

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"I'm really happy and proud of what I've achieved this year."


Image: Caroline Wozniacki leaves her handprints after a news conference held for the WTA Tour Championships in Doha

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