Wozniacki reaches U.S. Open final as injured Peng retires

Fri Sep 5, 2014 7:18pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Caroline Wozniacki advanced to the U.S. Open final in dramatic yet heart-breaking fashion on Friday when China's Peng Shuai was forced to retire due to heat illness, putting the Dane one win away from winning an elusive grand slam title.

On another hot and humid day at Flushing Meadows, a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium had been enjoying a riveting baseline battle between Peng, one of the tournament's top servers, going against Wozniacki, one of the game's top returners.

But in an instant the mood turned from excitement to worry as Peng, without warning was overcome by the heat collapsing onto the court in agony and taken off away in a wheelchair, the contest ending in confusion, controversy and concern.

"It was really hard to watch for me whenever I saw her collapse on the court," said Wozniacki. "You know, tennis is great, but the health is more important.

"To see her struggling out there, I just wanted to make sure she was okay.

"I got the word that she's okay now and just getting cooled down, so that's great to hear."

Wozniacki was leading 7-6(1) 4-3 and closing in on victory when Peng suddenly grabbed at her thighs and stumbled to the back wall of the stadium court with what appeared to be severe cramping.

In obvious distress, the 28-year-old doubles specialist was eventually helped off the court and disappeared into the stadium where she was allowed to receive treatment.   Continued...

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark celebrates after winning her semi-final match against Peng Shuai of China after Shuai had to retire due to an injury at the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 5, 2014.         REUTERS/Adam Hunger