AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Top seed Caroline Wozniacki charged past lucky loser Laura Siegemund in straight sets to claim her first win of 2019 and close out the opening round at the ASB Classic in Auckland.
Last year’s finalist, Wozniacki needed an hour and 20 minutes to ease past the German 6-3, 6-2 and make her way into the second round, where Canada’s Bianca Andreescu - the player who defeated Siegemund in qualifying - awaits.
“I think that it wasn’t the prettiest match that I’ve played,” Wozniacki admitted in her post-match press conference. “I was just trying to get back into the rhythm. [Siegemund] doesn’t give you much rhythm, either. I just tried, all the time.
“I’ve been practicing really well, so I hope that every match is going to be better, every match I can play better.”
The two-time Auckland finalist was under pressure from the start against Siegemund, who was making her main draw debut. Wozniacki had to fend off a pair of break points in her first service game, but she stayed solid to grind out the hold and keep on par with the German.
But Siegemund - who has struggled to find her best form since suffering a grizzly knee injury in 2017 - had trouble with her serve throughout the set, recording three double faults in her opening two service games. This gave Wozniacki plenty of inroads, and the Dane finally converted on her fifth break chance break to get ahead 3-1.
That early break would prove to be decisive as Wozniacki charged through her next three service games, dropping just two points in total to seal the opening set in 42 minutes.
It was one way traffic at the start of the second as well, with Wozniacki continuing her torrid pace to create a double-break advantage and lead 3-0 - and with Siegemund yet to win a second-serve point in the set.
The German pushed Wozniacki wherever she could, mixing in dropshots and crafty net play into her game. She was finally rewarded with her first break of the match at 3-1 and then found her way out of a 0-40 deficit in the next game to close the gap even more.
This seemed to boost Siegemund’s confidence and suddenly Wozniacki had a battle on her hands - she faced break points in a marathon game as the German looked keen to get them back on serve. But the challenge was short lived as Wozniacki denied Siegmund the chance to even the score, instead holding for 4-2 and breaking to love in the next game.
Wozniacki served it out with confidence, claiming her first victory of the new year in emphatic style. The victory also improves Wozniacki’s stellar record in Auckland - despite having yet to win the title, the top seed now boasts a 16-5 record, a figure that includes two runs to the final.
“I never expect much from the first match of the year, because you’re a little rusty, you have to get back into it,” Wozniacki said. “All I can expect from myself is that I fight well and try my hardest - that’s really it.
“I think I can find a lot of pluses from today: I think I served well in periods, I mixed up the pace a little bit. You just look at the positive things, and hopefully tomorrow it will be even better.”
Also in action in Auckland, Sara Sorribes Tormo is the first player through to the second round. The Spaniard outlasted No.7 seed Kirsten Flipkens, edging through 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 after over two hours on court. No.3 seed Hsieh Su-Wei is also through after battling past Monica Puig 6-1, 7-6(3).