Top News Wozniacki topples Clijsters from the top

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Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark reacts after winning her quarter-final match against Shahar Peer of Israel during the WTA Dubai Tennis Championships Feb 18, 2011.

DUBAI - Caroline Wozniacki regained the world No 1 ranking from Kim Clijsters in the strangest surroundings on Friday as a 6-2, 6-4 win over Shahar Peer carried her into the semifinals of the Dubai Open.

The top-seeded Dane had the rare experience of playing on an outside court, under the shadow of a large building, next to a cosy row of trees, and with small spectator terraces containing a few hundred people.

It was deemed the best way to keep her opponent safe.

Peer, who last year became the first Israeli woman ever to compete in the United Arab Emirates, still requires 24-hour protection, and lives, changes and prepares in areas separate from other players.

"It certainly felt different from playing in the stadium. But I just did what I had to do, and tomorrow I will be back there again," said Wozniacki, who will face a rejuvenated Jelena Jankovic, the former world No 1.

It means that Clijsters will have held the top spot for only one week after winning last month's Australian Open and reaching the final of last week's Paris Open, and Wozniacki will cling to the pinnacle for at least another month - until after the 12-day Indian Wells tournament which startson March 23.

But the table topper seemed far from overjoyed. "I gave Kim one week, so I will probably have it for a few weeks now," Wozniacki said.

"Of course it's nice and I'll go out to dinner with one of my best friends, but my focus is not really upon becoming No 1. It's more about concentrating on trying to win the tournament."

Wozniacki did indeed focus well. She got her tactics right, made a crucial push when Peer was coming back dangerously, and gained revenge for her loss to the inspired Israeli here last year.

Wozniacki was at 15-40 in that important last game before saving it. She found extra pace with a backhand cross-court drive which forced Peer to overhit, then struck a steadier backhand cross court which Peer returned into the net, followed it by launching a winning first serve and closed out the match with a good net attack.

(China Daily)