`Little Princess` Wozniacki enjoys Doha coronation

Doha: A cramp-ridden Caroline Wozniacki lay twisted and tortured on the hardcourt of Doha in October 2009 but 12 months later she is certain to leave the same venue as the year-end world number one.

What a difference a year makes.

A year older, wiser and stronger, Wozniacki has been transformed into one of the most powerful players in women`s tennis, a fearsome baseline brawler with the lungs and heart to run her opponents into the ground.

Completion of this metamorphosis came on Thursday when the 20-year-old Dane sealed the year-end number one ranking by beating Italian Francesca Schiavone at the $4.55 million season-ending tournament in the Qatari capital.

"Last year I came into this tournament a little bit injured. I think that made my body work a little bit harder for everything," Wozniacki told reporters after her 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 win over Schiavone at the Khalifa Tennis Complex.

"This year I feel like I`m fit, I`m feeling well, feeling good physically. I`ve been working really hard off the court as well and that`s paid off. I`m really happy about that."

Beaming Blonde

Dubbed the `Little Princess` back home, Wozniacki endured a three-hour battle against Victoria Azarenka in her opening game last year, then went the distance with Vera Zvonareva in a match that yielded blood, sweat and tears.

After the Russian`s nose started to ooze blood in the second set, Wozniacki was pole-axed by cramp in her heavily-strapped left thigh and was barely able to hobble to the net to shake hands after her three-set win.

The Dane would later retire with an abdominal strain after the first set of her semi-final against Serena Williams.

There would be no such injury problems for Wozniacki this year, however, as the beaming blonde celebrated ending the year as the world`s top-ranked player.

The tears of last season have been replaced by steely eyes, iron will and canary-yellow nail polish.

"I`ve had a great season. I`ve played some good matches here and now I can end the year at No. 1 it`s a really great feeling," said Wozniacki.

"I`m only the 10th one to finish the year as No. 1 so I`m really proud of what I`ve achieved."

Wozniacki, the youngest player in the Doha field, has won six titles this season and claimed the number one ranking earlier this month after reaching the quarter-finals of the China Open.

While some have questioned her right to be crowned world number one without winning a grand slam, Wozniacki knows there will always be sceptics no matter what she does.

"For me the most important thing is I know I`ve had a great season," she said.

"I`ve won six tournaments so far and my friends and family are the ones that mean the most to me. That`s what I care about."

Bureau Report

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