Wozniacki survives scare, Djokovic fights through haze


World number one Caroline Wozniacki began life at the top with an injury scare Friday, while champion Novak Djokovic said players should have access to oxygen tanks on court after yet another smoggy day in Beijing.
Ecstasy turned to agony for Wozniacki less than 24 hours after she was crowned world number one when she crumpled to the ground clutching her left knee in tears while leading Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic 7-6 3-1.
The 20-year-old overstretched as she smashed a backhanded return but after taking an injury time out to get her knee strapped, she showed her champion’s instinct to reach the semi-finals by shunting aside Ivanovic 7-6 6-4.
Air quality was so bad at the Olympic tennis center for the third day running that top seed Djokovic offered a solution to the problem.
“A box of oxygen or something on the bench would be great, but we don’t have it. I guess I will have to get used to it,” he said after securing a semi-final place with a 6-3 6-2 win over Frenchman Gilles Simon.
The gloomy conditions have seen the floodlights turned on early to help players and spectators see through the haze on the showcase courts.
But that did not help the cause of third and fourth seeds Robin Soderling and Nikolay Davydenko, who both slumped out.
Soderling was beaten 6-2 6-4 by Spain’s David Ferrer and Davydenko was handed a 7-6 6-4 defeat by lofty American John Isner.
Unseeded Isner now faces Djokovic.
French Open winner Francesca Schiavone offered no excuses after she narrowly avoided the humiliation of a whitewash when she was thrashed 6-0 6-2 by second seed Vera Zvonareva.
China’s Li Na, seeded ninth, used the sparse but expectant home crowd to silence Latvian Anastasija Sevastova 7-6 6-3 and now faces the in-form Zvonareva in Saturday’s semi-final. On the other side of the bracket, Murray went out meekly to big-serving Croatian Ivan Ljubicic in little more than an hour, 6-3, 6-2.
“He played well. He served very well. I made quite a lot of mistakes, so a combination of the two probably didn’t help that much,” the 23-year-old Scot said.