Caroline, Sam & Jelena Cruise In Charleston
Published April 06, 2011 12:00
CHARLESTON, SC, USA - World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki made a strong first impression at this year's Family Circle Cup on Wednesday, racing past American qualifier Irina Falconi at the Premier-level tournament, 61 61.
Wozniacki, playing in Charleston for the third consecutive year but seeking her first title at the event, never faced a break point and won over twice as many points as Falconi, 54 to 25, during the 56-minute victory on Stadium court.
"I really enjoy coming back to this tournament. I have a big support group out there," Wozniacki said. "I think in the beginning Irina was a bit nervous, but she started playing really well in the second set. I played well today. I was able to take that extra step into the ball and make winners at the right times."
Wozniacki's best result in Charleston came in 2009, when she reached the final; last year she had to retire in the semifinals after rolling her ankle chasing a drop shot. "I thought about it today, especially where I rolled it last year. It was in the back of my mind. On the other hand I've always enjoyed playing here. The center court is so cozy and intimate. It makes me really enjoy being out there."
Samantha Stosur and Jelena Jankovic, seeded No.2 and No.3 and both former Family Circle Cup champions, cruised ahead as well. Stosur, the defending champion, was the first of the pair to advance, serving up eight aces in getting past Patricia Mayr-Achleitner in just 57 minutes, 61 62.
"It was almost like picking up from last year, which is a nice feeling," Stosur told reporters afterwards. "It definitely puts a smile on your face when the announcer says you're the defending champion then says your name. It's nice to be back at a tournament where you've had some success in the past."
Jankovic, who won here in 2007, followed with a 62 63 win over another Austrian, Tamira Paszek. "I was sliding pretty well and moving the ball around pretty well; it was windy out there so I had to play smart and wait for my chances then go for it. But the most important thing was the movement. The last time I played on clay was last year at the French Open, so I'm pretty pleased."
Jankovic was asked about her dress in press. "It's my new ANTA dress. I've been working with them for two or two and a half years now, and it's pretty cool. It's a nice color for spring and I have these flowers, so it's kind of like the spring blossom. I'm blossoming. I've gotten a lot of compliments for it, so I'm happy!"
The rest of the seeds in action in the afternoon had mixed results, with No.7 seed Nadia Petrova, No.10 seed Daniela Hantuchova and No.15 seed Barbora Zahlavova Strycova all winning but No.9 seed Maria Kirilenko and No.14 seed Bethanie Mattek-Sands falling. Kirilenko was up a set and a break but ultimately fell to qualifier Anna Tatishvili, 57 75 63; Mattek-Sands led 4-1 in the first set and 4-0 in the second set but fell to Elena Vesnina, 64 76(6).
At night, No.4 seed Marion Bartoli became the highest seeded casualty of the tournament so far, falling to German wildcard Sabine Lisicki, 62 63. Lisicki beat Bartoli for the second time in three meetings, having also beaten her at this event in 2009 en route to the title. She missed last year with an ankle injury.