Tennis: New York hands Wozniacki chance to shine

NEW YORK (AFP) - After the trauma of her split with fiance Rory McIlroy, New York is proving the perfect pick-me-up for rejuvenated Caroline Wozniacki as she targets a place in the US Open semi-finals.

The 24-year-old enjoyed her best Grand Slam performance at Flushing Meadows in 2009 when she made the final.

Such is her affection for the city that she has even signed up for the New York City Marathon in November. She will also remain in Manhattan - win or lose when she faces Sara Errani on Tuesday - to attend New York Fashion Week where world number one and close friend Serena Williams will have a show for the first time.

Williams was a shoulder to cry on - via Twitter at least - when Wozniacki was dumped by McIlroy in May. Just don't ask the blonde Dane to talk about her former boyfriend who has thrived professionally since the split, winning majors at the British Open and PGA and admitting that he has had more time to be single-minded about his game.

"To be honest, I don't think that's a relevant question. I'm here to play tennis and I play well. I'm just happy to be here. Whatever is happening off the court is not really relevant here," she said.

Since the end of her romance, Wozniacki has been steadily rebuilding her game. In the aftermath of the split, she was a first round loser at the French Open but has gone on to clinch her 22nd career title in Istanbul, make the quarter-finals in Montreal and the semi-finals in Cincinnati.

A win on Tuesday would be her best run in New York since making the semi-finals in 2011 and the draw has opened up for her. Wozniacki has a 2-1 career edge over Errani and a third career win over the Italian would give her a semi-final match-up with either 17-year-old Belinda Bencic or China's Peng Shuai, both unseeded.

"It's a new year and I've gotten older - and hopefully a little wiser. I feel good. I feel comfortable when I play out there. I have had a great summer," she explained.

Although she refuses to discuss McIlroy, she does admit that following the Northern Irishman around the courses of the world has given her some useful insights which can be translated on to the tennis courts.

"Golf is obviously a mental sport. Sometimes it's the small putts that can make a huge difference," Wozniacki said. "You make a few putts here and there. Again, same with tennis. You make a ball here, there. You know, important points, those are the ones that count."