Big names fall in Auckland tennis

The giants of tennis have been slain in the City of Sails.

Danish ace Caroline Wozniacki’s surprise quarter-final collapse against Julia Goerges on Thursday leaves none of the big names in the ASB Classic final four.

Wozniacki, seeded third and brimming with confidence after a solid late-2016 run, went down 1-6 6-3 6-4 in 107 minutes.

Breezing through the first set and ahead 3-0 in the second, the Danish world No.19 seemed certain to secure a semi-final berth until Goerges turned it around.

The German, last year’s Classic runner-up, won six straight games to snatch the second set before surviving a few jitters to win the decider.

The result follows Wednesday’s horror show for the Williams sisters, with Serena losing to unheralded compatriot Madison Brengle and the injured Venus withdrawing.

To rub salt into the wounds for Classic organisers, Japanese prodigy Naomi Osaka retired with a wrist injury in her first set against Croatian eighth-seed Ana Konjuh.

Goerges, Konjuh, Lauren Davis and teen Jelena Ostapenko will now contest a modest semi-final bracket on Friday afternoon.

“The conditions got a little faster at one point and she just started hitting everything, and all of a sudden it was all going in,” Wozniacki said.

“She has the game to really trouble a lot of players and when it’s on, it’s on.”

Goerges said the match showcased the best and worst of her game.

At 3-0 down in the second set, she thought defeat was inevitable but kept fighting.

“If I’m playing good tennis I can beat her, so I just needed to find my range,” the 28-year-old said.

“I’m still here, I survived somehow.”

The 19-year-old Ostapenko will certainly fancy her chances of a maiden WTA title, overcoming the sniffles to dismantle giant-killer Brengle 7-5 6-3.

Brengle started well but faded in the face of Ostapenko’s power game.

Ostapenko showcased her credentials with a clinical second set, racing out to a 5-2 lead and holding serve to close out the match.

“In the morning I woke up and had a cold, so it was a bit difficult to play for me,” Ostapenko said with a hoarse voice.

“I don’t feel 100 per cent but I hope it’s going to be better tomorrow.”

In the remaining quarter-final, 2015 semi-finalist Davis defeated Barbora Strycova 6-1 7-6 (7-4).

Racing to a 5-0 lead, Davis won the first set with ease before producing a composed tie-break performance to send the fourth-seeded Czech packing.

“I like getting matches under my belt, I had a good off-season so I’m just trying to really enjoy the moment,” the 23-year-old Davis said.

Davis will now take on Ostapenko on Friday afternoon, before Goerges and Konjuh slug it out in the evening session.

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