At the Net: Wozniacki eyes Top 10 again

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Updated: 7/24/2014 3:50 pm

Philadelphia, PA ( - It wasn't that long ago when Caroline Wozniacki was the No. 1 women's tennis player in the world. It only seems that way.

Caro accomplished quite the feat by finishing as a back-to-back year-end No. 1 in 2010 and 2011, holding the lofty position for 67 weeks. But she then started to date golf star Rory McIlroy, and the wins started to come with less frequency.

Last summer, she kept losing to tennis no-names, while McIlroy was missing cuts like crazy as they were actively destroying each others careers.

The Danish star finished at No. 10 in the world in 2012 and 2013 and it looked like a return to the top was unlikely ... and perhaps it still is.

But she's been playing with a renewed vigor since the Northern Irishman called off their impending marriage back in May, this after wedding invitations had already been issued, in what has turned out to be a good move for both stars from a professional standpoint. The former world No. 1 McIlroy, for example, appears to have regained his once-dominant form, which resulted in an Open championship last week, his second win since abruptly calling off the "Wozzilroy" engagement ... but that's another story.

The recently turned 24-year-old Wozniacki bombed out at the French Open in May by losing in the first round in Paris, but has caught fire since then.

She rebounded nicely from the French debacle by reaching a grass-court semifinal in Eastbourne, England; then reached the fourth round at her least- successful Grand Slam, Wimbledon; and proved she should have been the top seed last week in Istanbul, where she finally captured her first title of the year within hours of McIlroy's major success in England. Istanbul also marked her first final of 2014, after she appeared in only two finals all of last season.

Wozniacki was a finals machine during her No. 1 years in '10 and '11, appearing in no less than 16 championship matches and claiming 12 of her 22 career titles during those fruitful years. But since 2011, the likeable 5- foot-10 Odense native has mustered only four championships and captured only four of 61 tournaments while dating McIlroy.

Is she ready to turn the corner once again?

Earlier this year, the "Woz" (who's fired a bunch of coaches) split with former Maria Sharapova coach Thomas Hogstedt after only two tournaments together and is currently working with Michael Mortensen, who coached Wozniacki when she was a junior and guided Chinese star Li Na to a French Open title three years ago.

The currently 13th-ranked Wozniacki dropped out of the top 10 back in February, but a return to that elite group could be in the offing given the way she's been performing of late.

Did You Know?: Wozniacki is fourth on the active list with her 22 WTA titles, behind only her good friend and current world No. 1 Serena Williams, her fellow former No. 1 Sharapova and another former top-ranked star, Venus Williams.

Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself tooting Wozniacki's horn after winning only a small International-level event. She has, after all, failed to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal since January 2012, going quarterfinal-less at the last 10 majors. At one point, she landed in at least the quarters at 6-of-10 Slams between 2009 and 2012, including at least the semifinals at three straight U.S. Opens (2009-11).

The 2009 U.S. Open runner-up is still seeking that elusive first-ever major title. She captured a Wimbledon girls' championship back in 2006, but nobody's gonna remember that.

With Rory well out of the picture now, let's see what happens.

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