PARIS, France - World No.2 Caroline Wozniacki aced her tough first-round test against on-the-rise American Danielle Collins, edging through in straight sets 7-6(2), 6-1 to reach the second round at the French Open.
Playing her first Grand Slam as the reigning Australian Open champion, Wozniacki is one of 13 Grand Slam champions in the main draw this fortnight - coming full circle after making her Grand Slam main draw debut here in 2007.
Read more: Breaking down the 2018 French Open draw
“It feels great, a little bit less pressure,” Wozniacki admitted in her post-match press conference. “I kind of feel like I have one Grand Slam now, so no matter what happens, no one can take that away from me. I'm just out here trying to enjoy every match and every moment of it.”
She was drawn against 24-year-old Collins, who was making her own Roland Garros debut and riding a career-high ranking of World No.42 after notching a dream run to the Miami Open semifinals from qualifying, claiming her first win over a Top 10 over Venus Williams en route.
Collins, who was looking for her first Top 5 win in three attempts, did well to keep pace with the reigning Australian Open champion out on Court Philippe-Chatrier. The pair traded breaks twice in the tightly-contested opening set, with the American breaking first each time and leaving Wozniacki to fight her way back to 1-1 and later 3-3.
They stayed toe-to-toe for the rest of the opening set, with Collins’ firepower off the baseline keeping Wozniacki under pressure, and the Dane’s dogged retrieving forcing the errors off Collins’ racquet. Wozniacki finally accelerated ahead in the tiebreak, where she allowed her opponent just two points in a dominant performance to take the set.
Dropping the first set seemed to jolt Collins off of her rhythm, and she was able to win just one point in the next three games as Wozniacki broke twice to start the second set with a 3-0 lead. Wozniacki had all the answers against the American, who couldn’t seem to hit her marks the same way as in the first set.
Collins got on the scoreboard late in the set at 4-1, but she wasn’t able to curb Wozniacki’s momentum as the Dane marched forward, closing out the match after just over an hour and a half.
Up next, Wozniacki will face another dangerous Roland Garros debutante in the second round. She’ll take on Spain’s big serving Georgina Garcia Perez, who knocked out Dalila Jakupovic 6-3, 6-4 to claim her career-first Grand Slam victory.
“I think [having won a Grand Slam title] definitely gives you confidence,” Wozniacki said. “But, you know, it's a new tournament, a new day, and you just have to be out there and keep grinding, keep trying to be better every day.
“I think that's really the main thing. You know you have a target on your back and everyone wants to find a way to beat you. But I embrace the challenge, and I love it.”