Caroline Wozniacki won a see-saw affair with Christina McHale under the Rod Laver roof to reach the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday.
WTA Staff

MELBOURNE, Australia - Under the relative sanctuary of the Rod Laver Arena's roof, Caroline Wozniacki booked her place in the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday.

However, while the conditions may have been more accommodating for No.10 seed Wozniacki than they were elsewhere at Melbourne Park, her opponent, Christina McHale, was not.

Surprisingly, given their respective rankings, McHale had got the better of the former World No.1 in two of their three career meetings. Not that this record helped her out much in the opening set.

A characteristically miserly Wozniacki committed just three unforced errors as she out-thought and out-fought her increasingly frustrated American opponent, taking the first six games in just 28 minutes.

Perhaps unburdened by this nightmare start, McHale came out swinging at the start of the second, breaking the Dane immediately to belatedly get her name on the scoreboard. As her shots started to find their mark, it was suddenly Wozniacki that was feeling the pressure.

Emboldened by this early success, McHale broke twice more as she leveled the match up in emphatic fashion, and at the start of the decider she had the chance to ram home her advantage when she carved out two break points for a 2-0 lead.

But, just as she has done on so many occasions down the years, Wozniacki battened down the hatches, hanging onto her own serve before breaking McHale with the help of a couple of pin-point forehand returns.

Displaying a newfound commitment to finishing off points at the net, Wozniacki dominated the remainder of the set, closing the match out, 60 16 62.

"I started off really well. I put the pressure on her, took the ball early, and I served really well," Wozniacki said. "The second set I built up quite a few opportunities and possibilities. But I just started missing a little bit more and she started going on a roll.

"In the third set I just tried to fight for every point and I think my fighting spirit today pulled me through in the end."

More of the same will be required for her next assignment, when she takes on another player she has a losing record against, Garbiñe Muguruza. The two met last year in Miami, with the Spaniard triumphing in two sets, and Wozniacki is expecting a stern challenge.

"She's definitely on a roll," Wozniacki said. "She won Hobart so she's playing well. She doesn't have a typical Spanish game because she goes in and attacks the ball and plays a very heavy ball.

"It's going to be a tough match, but I'm excited about it. I'm excited to have won today and be through to the third round."