Top-ranked Wozniacki wins Charleston tourney, eyes French Open

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CHARLESTON, S.C. | Caroline Wozniacki was happy to win her first clay-court tournament of the season at the Family Circle Cup. That didn’t keep the world’s No. 1 player from looking ahead to a major prize - the French Open.

Wozniacki ended a satisfying week here with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Elena Vesnina on Sunday. It also marks her as one of the favorites when the clay-court season ends in two months at Roland Garros.

“I feel confident and I know I can win a [Grand] Slam” tournament, Wozniacki said.

She showed that in capturing her third tournament of the season. She lost only one set in her five matches, in the quarterfinals to Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, and took out former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic in straight sets to reach the finals here for the second time in five years.

The unseeded Vesnina, ranked 56th in the world, attempted to break Wozniacki’s rhythm by going for the midcourt sidelines instead of hitting deep into the corners. But Wozniacki was up for that, too, easily chasing most of them down.

“I mean sometimes you feel like she’s everywhere on the court,” Vesnina said.

The top-seeded Dane broke her opponent to grab a 3-1 lead in the opening set. Vesnina held strong in the second set, but again Wozniacki broke her serve for a 5-3 lead. Minutes later, Wozniacki had claimed the title. She also won at Dubai and Indian Wells, Calif.

Wozniacki pumped her fist after the final point, waved and blew kisses to the stadium court crowd. She was glad to finally come away with the championship after coming close the previous two years.

Wozniacki lost to Sabine Lisicki in the 2009 finals, then rolled her ankle in the semis a year ago and had to withdraw.

“This has always been a great tournament for me,” she said.

Wozniacki earned $111,000 for her first Family Circle Cup crown. She couldn’t stay long to celebrate, however, since she had a flight to catch later Sunday because of a scheduled exhibition match in Monaco.

Vesnina had beaten four seeded opponents to reach the title game. But she sounded like all of Wozniacki’s opponents this week as she marveled at the Dane’s play. Wozniacki, Vesnina says, balances pace and brains to come out on top.

“It’s not like she was like Serena [Williams], you know, powerful play,” Vesnina said. “Caroline, she’s using pace. She’s using the whole court, and she’s playing smart tennis.”

The kind that earns someone their first Grand Slam?

Wozniacki’s not counting on anything yet.

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