NEW YORK - Italian qualifier Camila Giorgi played the match of her life on the stage of her dreams Saturday to reach the fourth round of the US Open by stunning former world number one Caroline Wozniacki.
The 21-year-old qualifier matched her best Grand Slam result, a run to the final 16 last year at Wimbledon, by rallying past Danish sixth seed Wozniacki 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 as the crowd roared in support at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
"I wanted that. It was my goal to be there," Giorgi said of the largest Grand Slam venue.
"It was amazing to play there. For me, it was so nice. I had never been there, so was really good. I loved to play in this court."
Giorgi, ranked 136th in the world, had not played since a third-round run at Wimbledon because of a right shoulder injury.
But the 1.68m tiny blonde dynamo sizzled on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts in booking a fourth-round date with fellow Italian, 10th seed Roberta Vinci.
"It was amazing this match," Giorgi said. "My first set wasn't really good but after, I was focused every point. I think I played better tactical maybe." So what was her triumphant strategy?
"When the ball came, just hit the ball in the corners," she said.
Wozniacki was caught off guard and quickly knew she was in trouble as Giorgi fired 46 winners in the match to only 13 for the Danish standout.
"She was all over the ball," Wozniacki said. "All of a sudden she came into the rhythm and just started hitting everything and it was starting to go in.
"She played very well. She took very high-risk shots and things were going in for her. She was going for the lines and hitting them when she wanted." Wozniacki sees a great future for Giorgi if she keeps playing that way.
"She hits every ball no matter where she stands. She's hitting from both sides, and she was serving quite well," Wozniacki said. "If she learns to control her pace like she did today, then I think she has a bright future."
Giorgi says she does not like to be loud on the court but there is plenty of noise, and arm movement, from her coach and father, Sergio Giorgi, whose vocal offerings resulted in a coaching violation against his daughter. "I always hear him. Many times I look at him," Giorgi said of her dad. "Everybody does that, so this is the fact. But you need to avoid. If not, you lose the match for one thing. This is not good."
Giorgi has taken a big boost from her injury comeback run.
"It's really, really good. This helps a lot to my confidence, and I hope to stay like this for the last week," she said. "My first goal is to be in the top 100 and then to get back the confidence, because when you are not playing tournaments, you don't have this rhythm of the matches, so it's not easy.
"I feel good now. My shoulder is good. So I'm happy for this reason too."