Wozniacki, Cornet Power to Early Sydney Wins
Published January 12, 2009 12:00
SYDNEY, Australia - Some of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour's most promising young stars took to the courts on the second day of main draw action at the Medibank International. Only one could emerge from one of the matches, which saw No.8 seed Caroline Wozniacki scoring a surprisingly easy win over young rival Dominika Cibulkova, while fellow teen Alizé Cornet beat seventh seed Nadia Petrova. Second seed Dinara Safina and third seed Elena Dementieva also won.
"I really felt good out there today," said Wozniacki, "especially in the beginning. Dominika is a really good player and I was expecting a long match, but I'm really happy it turned out this way." The opposite was the case for Cibulkova, who struggled to adapt to the conditions after spending last week indoors winning the Hopman Cup for Slovakia. "I got tired after a few points and I felt my legs were so heavy, so I couldn't play my game today with her. Caroline likes long rallies."
Cornet, who dispatched Petrova 62 64, appeared to be on course for an even more comprehensive win over the Russian, who went down with viral meningitis during the off-season. But as Cornet was reminded, Petrova isn't a former world No.3 for nothing: "I was a bit nervous at the end of my match," the almost-19-year-old admitted. "I was 62 51 up, and then I think I just started hoping she would give me the end of the match. But no, she's 11 in the world and it's not like that. I still don't know how I won the last game."
In the second round Wozniacki plays 22-year-old Brit Melanie South, who advanced when Brisbane runner-up Marion Bartoli retired suffering a left calf strain at 1-1 in the first set, but already has three impressive qualifying wins under her belt.
Safina, who reached the final of the Hopman Cup with brother Marat last week, showed she hadn't left her groove in Perth with a bracing 62 61 win over talented young Romanian Sorana Cirstea. But Dementieva, hot off a tournament win at the ASB Classic, had to labor harder.
"Physically I was fine, but mentally it was tough, because I played five days in a row in Auckland," Dementieva said. "It would have been good to have an extra day to rest and be as ready as possible for this tournament. But I'm glad I won in two sets; the first set was really tough to play but it felt much better at the end."
Dementieva's next opponent is wildcard Jarmila Gajdosova, who had been geared up for a rematch against the player who beat her last week in Brisbane, eventual champion Victoria Azarenka, but instead was presented with a lucky loser in the form of Karin Knapp when Azarenka pulled out due to an upper respiratory illness. Soon-to-be-married Gajdosova made the most of the opportunity with a straightforward 64 62 win, but knows Dementieva will be a "tough cookie."
Other first round winners included Daniela Hantuchova, who registered a morale-boosting 63 60 win over Klara Zakopalova; Brisbane semifinalist Sara Errani, who was too solid for Australia's Casey Dellacqua and booked a second round test against Serena Williams; and Alisa Kleybanova, who breezed past fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko with the loss of just four games.
Vera Zvonareva, who had been the fourth seed, withdrew from the event due to a stomach bug.