PRAGUE, Czech Republic - No.2 seed Caroline Wozniacki eased into round two of the J&T Banka Prague Open on Tuesday with a 6-0, 7-5 win over Japan's Misaki Doi, but she wasn't entirely satisfied with her performance.
"I got off to a good start, but I kind of let her back into the match a little bit," said the 26-year-old WTA World No.11, who is on the brink of re-entering the Top 10.
"I made it a little bit more difficult than it should have been. I’m still trying to find my way on the clay, it’s not easy, I’m still finding my rhythm – I didn’t play any clay court tournaments last year, so it’s been a little while since I played on clay. It’s a good win and I hope that I can keep it going."
It was also a good day for the younger generation in Prague. Three players born in 1997 won their first round matches: 20-year-old qualifier Natalia Vikhlyantseva dismissed Viktorija Golubic 6-1, 6-1 in exactly one hour, No.7 seed Ana Konjuh snapped a four-match losing streak to power past Jana Cepelova 6-2, 6-2 and Jelena Ostapenko took 79 minutes to see off Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 6-3.
Vikhlyantseva was particularly pleased with her victory, saying afterwards: "I was trying to prepare to be very focused and play my game and today it worked. I served very good and all my balls were on the lines! Maybe it was my very good day, but maybe it was hard work - I practised hard a lot of things, and it goes together. Today I showed very great tennis and I hope I'll continue this rhythm."
The Russian also said that she enjoyed having a cohort of players on the WTA tour the same age as her. "I try to stay friends with everybody who is my age and who I see - Daria Kasatkina, Belinda Bencic, Jelena Ostapenko," she remarked.
"We played a lot of junior tournaments together - well, not me because I started to play a little bit later, so they were already No.1 or top 10 junior players when I'd just started to play ITF juniors. But now we're the same age and in the same tournaments, and I think it's nice because we have a lot of years together in the same tournaments, the same hotels. So I think we're gonna be friends, it's gonna be fine. Of course in tennis it's hard, because if we're playing a match it's hard to be friends, but it's OK. We can continue to be nice with everybody. It's gonna be good, I think - for tennis also."
Ostapenko also noted the rise of her generation: "I think our year, 1997, is probably one of the strongest years. I think something like six of us are in the Top 50 and more in Top 100. I know a lot of the girls since we were 10 or 12."
Next up for her, though, is a familiar face in Wozniacki. "I’ve played Caroline a few times," said the Latvian, who is yet to lose a set to the Dane in two encounters. "I think she’s playing really well now. I need to be aggressive again and serve well. I’ll try and enjoy the match."