Wozniacki Moves On, Niculescu Next Up
Published January 18, 2012 12:00
MELBOURNE, Australia - Caroline Wozniacki held off an inspired Anna Tatishvili in the second round of the Australian Open on Wednesday, coming back from a hefty second set deficit to make it past the Georgian, 61 76(4).
Wozniacki, not just trying to uphold her No.1 seeding but also trying to keep her No.1 ranking this fortnight, was on her game in the 28-minute first set, hitting nine winners - including four aces - to just four unforced errors. But things would get tougher as the 83rd-ranked Tatishvili began finding her range.
Tatishvili stormed out to a 4-1 second set lead, overpowering Wozniacki with some huge hitting, particularly off the backhand wing. After losing her way a little bit she even held a set point at 5-4 - but she missed a forehand big, and once the World No.1 got back even again, the window closed quickly.
"I pulled through," Wozniacki said. "I thought the first set I played pretty well - I stayed aggressive and made her run. Second set, she went a bit more for her shots, and I stepped back a little bit and she punished me for that."
Although Tatishvili seemed on the verge of pushing the match to a third set, Wozniacki never stopped believing. "I usually believe I can stay out there the longest," she declared. "I believe I can be out there forever if I have to.
"I always just try to think one point at a time and what's happening now. If you have long rallies, you need to think, 'Am I fitter than my opponent? Can I stay out here and grind it out for three, four hours, or do I need to finish it off quicker?' Because you don't know if you can handle that. Of course, sometimes it depends on the opponent, as well as yourself - sometimes they don't let you play the way you want to. Then you need to change to Plan B."
Wozniacki showed off an improved first serve, firing a total of nine aces in the match. "I felt a little bit like John Isner out there," she joked. "I felt pretty confident out there. The wind or Sun didn't disturb me, and I could throw it up and hit it. I went for it a few times and made a few aces, which was great."
Other winners later in the day were No.8 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who rolled past Argentine qualifier Paula Ormaechea, 63 61; No.31 seed Monica Niculescu, who rallied from a set down for the second straight match to beat France's Pauline Parmentier, 46 64 61; Hobart champion Mona Barthel, who extended her winning streak to seven matches with a 75 63 upset over No.32 seed Petra Cetkovska; and Christina McHale and Galina Voskoboeva.
Niculescu will be Wozniacki's next opponent. Wozniacki has won both of their previous meetings handily, although they haven't played since 2008.
"She's No.3 in the world and a bloody good player," Dellacqua said after the match. "I think she will be tough to beat. She's hitting the ball phenomenally well, moving well, not really making any errors. I know it wasn't my best night, but I didn't feel like I played the worst match of my career - yeah, she's good."