NEW YORK, NY, USA - Caroline Wozniacki withstood a barrage of huge hitting from Chinese newcomer Duan Ying-Ying on Tuesday to move into the second round of her very best Grand Slam.
Duan, who came out of the qualifying and into her first Grand Slam main draw, completely teed off on the consistent ground game of Wozniacki, not finding too much success in the first set - she dropped it, 6-2 - but building some major momentum in the second set, storming out to a 5-2 lead. Duan even got a set point at 5-4 in that second set - but the No.6-seeded Wozniacki squeaked it out in the end, 62 75.
The match numbers told the story. Duan was the clear aggressor but was a little inconsistent at times, hitting 34 winners to 46 unforced errors - Wozniacki was extremely steady, an even 11 and 11.
"She went for it, hitting everything, and I just had to keep steady and keep running balls down," Wozniacki said. "I just kept my focus and kept fighting for every point, and I'm happy to be through. I think everyone you asked today would just say it was a day of survival and a day to get through.
"It's not about being pretty, it's about getting the job done. I did that, so I'm happy about that."
Wozniacki had some very nice words in her post-match press conference about Duan's prospects.
"She was really hitting hard from both sides," Wozniacki said. "She can play some very good tennis. It was difficult for me out there. I was happy to be able to run things down and finish the match."
The US Open is where Wozniacki reached her first Grand Slam final back in 2009. The Dane has been to a slew of other quarterfinals and semifinals at majors since then, but no other finals - yet.
"I always believe in that, so I never lost the belief," Wozniacki commented on the subject. "But here there are still so many matches to go, so I just have to go one match at a time, like I always do.
"I felt good out there. I feel like the game is where I want it to be. I love the hardcourts and playing on Arthur Ashe Stadium as my first match is great. I was really excited. It's so nice to be back."
Next up for Wozniacki is Chanelle Scheepers, who won an all-South African battle with qualifier Chanel Simmonds, 26 62 61. Wozniacki beat Scheepers in their only previous meeting, but it was a dramatic one - Wozniacki won the first set and had three match points in the second set, one at 6-5 and another two at 6-4 and 6-5 in the tie-break, but ended up finishing it off in the third set, 75 67(6) 62.
The other Top 16 seeds in Wozniacki's quarter of the draw all advanced in straight sets, with No.4 seed Sara Errani needing just 51 minutes to beat Australian lucky loser Olivia Rogowska, 60 60; No.10 seed Roberta Vinci overcoming a slow start to beat Timea Babos, 64 62; and No.14 seed Maria Kirilenko cruising past Yanina Wickmayer in straight sets in a battle between former Top 15 players, 61 61.