No.5 seed Caroline Wozniacki moves past qualifier Mihaela Buzarnescu into the second round of the US Open; Sloane Stephens also advances.
WTA Staff
August 29, 2017

NEW YORK, NY, USA -- No.5 seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark advanced to the second round of the US Open on Monday, getting past Romanian qualifier Mihaela Buzarnescu, 6-1, 7-5.

"First round's always, you know, tricky," Wozniacki said after the match. "You just want to get through them, get them done, and move on, especially in Grand Slams. I was happy to finish off in two sets."

Wozniacki, a finalist at the US Open in 2009 and 2014, is looking for another run to the championship match in Flushing Meadows, which would be her seventh final of a consistently strong year.

Buzarnescu, conversely, was experiencing her first main draw appearance in a Grand Slam at the age of 29 after good form on the ITF Circuit, having won four titles at that level this year.

The Romanian seemed to bring high confidence into the match at the outset, winning the first three points of the match and holding triple break point on Wozniacki's service game.

But the Dane repelled them all, and then broke Buzarnescu immediately thereafter to take command of the first set from the get-go.

At 4-1, Wozniacki kept cruising, breaking again with penetrating groundstrokes which pushed the qualifier well behind the baseline and into a flurry of errors. The fifth seed then held at love with a backhand winner, taking the first set in 25 minutes.

Buzarnescu's 16 unforced errors, compared to only four by the World No.5, left Wozniacki completely unbothered in the opening set.

The left-handed Romanian tightened up her game at the start of the second set, and hit some effective backhands en route to her first break of the match and a 2-0 lead. Wozniacki's consistency, though, gave her the break back immediately.

Buzarnescu started to become visibly frustrated by Wozniacki's doggedness, and serving at 3-3, she played a failed drop shot early in the game, and then pushed a forehand wide to hand over the break and a 4-3 lead for the Danish player.

But Buzarnescu would not wilt, breaking back at love to 4-4 with a forehand winner, and then finding tremendous depth on her groundstrokes to hold for 5-4. 

In her next service game, though, Buzarnescu double faulted to give Wozniacki a break point, which she dutifully accepted after a forehand error by the Romanian.  Wozniacki had to save one more break point, but she closed out the match, 6-1, 7-5, after one hour and 20 minutes.

Wozniacki advances to a tricky second round encounter against former US Open semifinalist Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, currently ranked just outside the seedings at No.40 in the world.

Still, the former World No.1 expects to have the New York crowd behind her during any upcoming difficult matches.  "I love this tournament," she said. "It's my favorite tournament of the year. I think it's very special. I always get great support."

Stephens vanquishes Vinci: In a battle between two of the most well-known floaters in the draw, American Sloane Stephens dispatched 2015 US Open finalist Roberta Vinci of Italy, by the score of 7-5, 6-1, in one hour and 21 minutes.

The first set featured numerous twists and turns, as big hitting off the forehand side gave Stephens the first break of the match at 3-1.

But Vinci, famous for her stunning dismissal of then-World No.1 Serena Williams in the semifinals of the 2015 US Open, broke back for 3-2, and her vaunted court craft was giving Stephens fits throughout the set, as the American had to save break points at 4-4 and 5-5.

"Obviously a slice backhand in the wind, like a lot of things going on there," said Stephens after the match. "She's always a tough player...That slice of hers, no easy ask. It was tough all around, but I was happy to get through."

Stephens was rewarded for her persistence when, at 6-5, Vinci double faulted to present Stephens with her first set point. On the next point, a forehand return clipped the net cord and shockingly dribbled over to give Stephens the set.

The second set was much more straightforward, as Vinci could not hold serve for the remainder of the match.  A blip at 4-0, where Stephens lost her serve at love on a double fault, could not halt her run to the second round.

Stephens will next test her excellent form -- which has seen her rise over 800 spots in the rankings to No.83 in the last month -- against the winner of the all-Slovakian showdown between Jana Cepelova and No.11 seed Dominika Cibulkova.

But Stephens is just "happy to be injury-free and pain-free, all that good stuff," she said. "I've exceeded everything that I thought I would."

More results: In addition to Serbian Aleksandra Krunic's shocking 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 upset of No.7 seed Johanna Konta of Great Britain, three more seeds went down earlier on Monday.  

No.21 seed Ana Konjuh of Croatia, a quarterfinalist at the US Open last year, succumbed to Australian Ashleigh Barty, 4-6, 6-0, 6-1. Barty's tremendously successful year continues, as she is just outside of the Top 40 and seems destined to rise even further.

Also, Maria Sakkari of Greece ousted No.24 seed Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands, 6-3, 6-4, and No.32-seeded American Lauren Davis fell to her compatriot, wild card Sofia Kenin, 7-5, 7-5.

Early seeded winners included No.3 Garbiñe Mugurza of Spain, No.9 Venus Williams of the United States, No.13 Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, No.16 Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, No.18 Caroline Garcia of France, No.29 Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia, No.30 Julia Goerges of Germany, and No.31 Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia.