Caroline Wozniacki’s return to tennis has already taken her deeper into a Grand Slam than any time since 2018.
The Danish former world No. 1 defeated American Jennifer Brady in a comeback 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the fourth round of the 2023 US Open. It is the first time since the 2018 French Open that she has reached a Grand Slam fourth round.
Wozniacki retired from tennis following the 2020 Australian Open after two years of dealing with rheumatoid arthritis and injuries. After three years away from the sport — in which she had two children with her husband, former NBA player David Lee — she announced her intention to return in a Vogue article in June.
That return arrived in early August, with Wozniacki reaching the second round of the Canadian Open and losing in the first round of the Western & Southern Open.
In New York, Wozniacki beat qualifier Tatiana Prozorova in the first round and No. 11 seed Petra Kvitova in the second round. Brady presented a different sort of challenge, most notably because the American is on a comeback tour of her own. The former Australian Open finalist missed more than two years due to a knee injury.
The first set was a close one, with Brady grabbing the only break in the final game thanks to four straight unforced errors by Wozniacki in the final game. There are few ways to lose a set in more demoralizing fashion, but Wozniacki came back in force. The return specialist started punishing Brady’s serve, winning eight of 14 points on her second offering, then cleaned up her game so much that she committed one unforced error total in the third set.
A stiffer challenge figures to await Wozniacki in the fourth round, as she will No. 6 seed Coco Gauff with a chance at her first Grand Slam quarterfinal since she won her only major title at the 2018 Australian Open.