NEW YORK, NY, USA - Two-time US Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki continued her campaign for a second major title on Thursday night, battling past American Danielle Collins, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 at the US Open.
The 2018 Australian Open champion has reached the semifinals or better at the US Open five times and moved within one win of returning to the second week in Flushing after two hours and eight minutes on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
"I love playing out on that court," Wozniacki said, during her post-match press conference. "It's a very special court for me."
"I'm just happy to be through to the next round," Wozniacki added. "It [was] two very different matches. The first match I got to play some longer rallies. This match, it was really all about just staying patient and trying to stay aggressive when I had the opportunity."
A viral illness stunted the start of Wozniacki's season, and early losses to rising stars like Iga Swiatek and Dayana Yastremska at the Rogers Cup and Western & Southern Open, respectively, put the former World No.1 decidedly under the radar heading into New York.
Across the net was Collins, who enjoyed a fairytale run to this year's Australian Open semifinals and peaked just outside the Top 20 back in January. The exuberant American looked ready to cause another upset when she drew first blood under the lights, holding on through a marathon final game of the opening set to convert her fourth set point.
"[Collins] got off to a good start," Wozniacki admitted. "She plays very aggressive. I knew that was how the match was going to go. I just had to be ready for it."
Wozniacki had to rally from a set down in her opening match against Wang Yafan, and raced out to a 5-0 lead to start the second set.
Undaunted, Collins did all she could to narrow the deficit, breaking the Dane as she served for a decider and saved a set point on her own serve.
Wozniacki ultimately leveled the match on her second try, and weathered a series of service holds to step in for the first and only break of the final set.
"In the second set, I stepped in a little bit more, I started changing up my serves a little bit more," Wozniacki stated. "I think that was what made the difference."
Collins made one last stand on serve, saving two match points, but the No.19 seed made it over the finish line to reach the Round of 32.
Wozniacki will next face reigning Rogers Cup and BNP Paribas Open champion Bianca Andreescu, who dispatched Belgian qualifier Kirsten Flipkens earlier in the day. Andreescu beat Wozniacki in Auckland earlier this season.
"I remember not really knowing who she was," Wozniacki said, regarding her prior meeting with Andreescu. "I remember I thought I played pretty well in that match. She still beat me. It was the first tournament of the year, so I was kind of unsure whether I was really hitting my level or whether she was playing that well. Obviously she was playing very well."
"She's had a great year," Wozniacki continued. "Has won some big tournaments. She's definitely coming in here with some confidence. It's important for me that I'm just going to go out there and take my chances."