US Open: Wozniacki’s comeback charge continues with victory over Jennifer Brady in the third round

Caroline Wozniacki defeated Jennifer Brady 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 and will face the winner of the match between Elise Mertens and Coco Gauff in the next round

Caroline Wozniacki © Zuma / Panoramic
US Open •Third round • completed
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Caroline Wozniacki‘s fairytale return to Grand Slam tennis continued as she beat home hope Jennifer Brady 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 on Arthur Ashe Stadium to return to the last 16 of the US Open.

A two-time former finalist at Flushing Meadows, yet having not played in New York for four years after her retirement in January 2020, Wozniacki looked as if she’d never been away as she recovered from dropping the opening set to knock Brady out of her home Slam.

Indeed, the Dane has already bettered her last outing at the US Open in 2019, when she fell to eventual champion Bianca Andreescu in the third round.

Brady – herself just returning from a two-year absence due to injury – put in a fine display in the opening set but faded in the latter two as Wozniacki’s supreme retrieving ability eventually sucked the energy out of the American.

Remarkable return continues for Caroline Wozniacki

Having only just returned to professional tennis at the Canadian Open a month ago, Wozniacki’s success this week in New York is nothing short of extraordinary.

When I retired three years ago, and when I had my two kids, I thought I’d only be watching from the outside

Wozniacki on her incredible comeback to professional tennis

Not only was the former world No 1 off tour for more than three-and-a-half years, but she also gave birth to two children during that time.

Wozniacki has emphatically proven that her ability to play top-level tennis remains undiminished, but she has also shown that she is as fit and mentally-focused as she ever was during her pomp.

In a year of remarkable comebacks on the WTA, such as Elina Svitolina‘s scarcely believable return to top form so soon after giving birth, Wozniacki’s sits right up there with the most impressive and unexpected of returns in 2023.

Physicality key as Wozniacki wears down Jennifer Brady

The match itself lasted just shy of two hours, as what looked to be turning into a potential classic ultimately faded quickly in the decider as Brady’s physical resistance began to wane.

Despite an impressive opener from the American, Wozniacki statistically outperformed her opponent in nearly every department as she dominated the final two sets.

She stifled Brady with some clinical and well-timed forays to the net, of which she successfully executed 86% of those net points.

The Dane’s trademark retrieval formed an indefatigable defence which Brady had little answer for – especially in the final stanza.

Breaking her opponent twice, Wozniacki then served out a love hold to stride confidently into the second week of the US Open.

“As a competitor… you always want to win and you believe in yourself, but to be here on Arthur Ashe… it’s a dream come true,” Wozniacki said in her on-court post-match interview.

“I said this in my last match, but I didn’t think I was going to be here again.

“When I retired three years ago, and when I had my two kids, I thought I’d only be watching from the outside.

“What an honour this is.”

Potential blockbuster with Coco Gauff lies in wait

She could potentially face another American in the form of Coco Gauff, which would be one of the match-ups of this year’s tournament.

Before then, however, Gauff takes on Belgian 32nd seed Elise Mertens in the third round on Saturday which will be a tough examination in itself.

The Dane, meanwhile, is rapidly building a narrative that has the potential to be the story of the 2023 US Open.

Caroline Wozniacki has moved into the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time since Roland-Garros in 2018.

And she has done so with more than a hint of a swagger.

New York (Grand Slam), other third-round results (USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, hard, USD 44.700.000, most recent results first):

  • Ekaterina Alexandrova vs. Marketa Vondrousova
  • Ons Jabeur vs. Marie Bouzkova
  • Katie Boulter vs. Peyton Stearns
  • Qinwen Zheng vs. Lucia Bronzetti
  • Elina Svitolina vs. Jessica Pegula
  • Liudmila Samsonova vs. Madison Keys
  • Clara Burel vs. Aryna Sabalenka
  • Daria Kasatkina vs. Greet Minnen
  • Elena Rybakina vs. Sorana Cirstea
  • Elise Mertens vs. Coco Gauff
  • Lin Zhu vs. Belinda Bencic
  • Jelena Ostapenko (20) beat Bernarda Pera: 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
  • Iga Swiatek (1) beat Kaja Juvan (Q): 6-0, 6-1
  • Xinyu Wang beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova: 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
  • Karolina Muchova (10) beat Taylor Townsend: 7-6, 6-3

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