WUHAN, China - Reigning Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki got off to a fast start in her opening match at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, needing two sets to knock out on-the-rise Rebecca Peterson to move into the third round.
Peterson, a Swedish qualifier, came into Wuhan in the midst of a breakthrough season, more than halving her ranking after starting the season at World No.149. But despite putting up a tough fight, she didn’t have enough in the tank against the No.2 seed as Wozniacki powered to a 6-4, 6-1 win in an hour and 28 minutes.
Wozniacki was pleased with the emphatic win - the Dane hadn’t been past the second round of a tournament since her run to the title in Eastbourne as she struggled with injury, posting first-round losses at Montreal, Cincinnati and Tokyo.
"I thought I played pretty well. I was a little rusty, but I played a really good opponent today," she said. "She had some big shots, mixed up the pace quite a bit and played some nice tennis."
There was little that Wozniacki did wrong in her tidy opening set against Peterson, recording a scant four unforced errors and keeping her first-serve percentage above 70%. The Dane, a former semifinalist here in 2014, broke early to establish a 3-1 lead and fought off break-back points to stay in front.
Another break put Wozniacki in the position to serve for the set at 5-2, but the determined Peterson saved three set points to stay in it with her first break back. Wozniacki wasn’t troubled, redirecting everything the Swede threw her way to weather Peterson’s comeback effort and serve out the set at the second time of asking.
That seemed to take the wind out of Peterson’s sails, and Wozniacki marched through the second set in methodical fashion, reeling off six of the next seven games to close out the match.
Although she recorded fewer winners than her opponent - 15 to Peterson’s 19 - Wozniacki’s nine unforced errors made the difference as the Swede recorded 36, most of which came during the lopsided second set. As a result, Wozniacki was able to break five times from nine chances and Peterson only once from two.
Through to the third round in Wuhan, Wozniacki will face another tough test in her next match as she tackles Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig. The Puerto Rican dismantled Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 6-2, 6-2 earlier in the day to move on.
"She's a tough opponent and plays aggressively. I'll need to be ready," she said, looking ahead to that match.