Hingis tells Wozniacki to face down big hitters

MELBOURNE Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:07am GMT

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark hits a return to Kim Clijsters of Belgium during their women's singles quarter-finals match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 24, 2012. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark hits a return to Kim Clijsters of Belgium during their women's singles quarter-finals match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 24, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Caroline Wozniacki must grit her teeth and go toe-to-toe with the power players of women's tennis because they are not going away anytime soon, says former world number one Martina Hingis.

Wozniacki was bundled out of the Australian Open by champion Kim Clijsters in the quarter-finals Tuesday and consequently will lose the world's top ranking at the end of the tournament, having been battered by the powerful Belgian.

The Dane, like Hingis before her, relies more on intelligent shot making and court craft than force, and while she appears to have got stronger in the last year and is hitting the ball harder, she has struggled to consistently deal with the power of players like Clijsters, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams.

"I didn't step back. I tried not to let them push me (around)," Hingis said when asked if she had any advice for the artful Wozniacki.

"Eventually you play one Williams, you play the second, you play (Lindsay) Davenport, you play (Jennifer) Capriati, who were all pushing forward.

"They were stronger than me. It's hard to play three, four players like that in a row (because) it's three setter after three setter after three setter.

"Today you just can't let yourself get pushed back.

"That's what she has to do. She has to try to move in, step forward, otherwise there is always going to be somebody coming on top of her at a grand slam."

Hingis won five grand slam titles, including three successive Australian Open titles, said she had noticed during her own career that the game was moving to more power players.

"At that time I still had the strategy and everything was different," the 31-year-old Swiss said. "At that time I still was able to sneak in a few dropshots and angles.

"It's still nice to see when girls do it today, but you just have less time.

"Now it's the power and the control and the racquet speed, the balls, the court. Everything has made progress. It's normal.

"The sport evolves, and so did women's tennis."

(Editing by Patrick Johnston)

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