LONDON, Great Britain - No.14 seed Caroline Wozniacki was made to work in her Wimbledon second-round clash against debutante Veronika Kudermetova, eding through two close sets to advance, 7-6(5), 6-3.
It was the perfect revenge for Wozniacki: she tore through the first set when the pair first met in the opening round of the French Open a few weeks ago, but she ultimately lost the match as Kudermetova rallied back to claim a 0-6, 6-3, 6-3 stunner.
Kudermetova - who was contesting her career first Wimbledon main draw matches - showed a lot of variety in the early exchanges, but she couldn’t penetrate the rock-solid Wozniacki defense and struggled to put the former World No.1 under pressure. She didn’t create any break chances across both sets as Wozniacki charged into the third round.
Wozniacki wasted no time in employing her rock-solid defense against Kudermetova, leaving the young Russian to problem-solve on the other side of the net. Kudermetova managed to hold off three early break chances from the Dane to hold for 2-2, but wasn’t able to create any of her own across the tightly-contested first set.
The pair were just as evenly-matched in the tiebreak, trading minibreaks to stay toe-to-toe at 5-5 - Wozniacki struck first to build up a 4-3 lead, but Kudermetova dragged them back to level terms a few points later. Finally Wozniacki pulled ahead, reeling off the last two points in a row to edge through with the opening set.
Kudermetova responded admirably after losing the first set, raising her level and keeping herself within touching distance of the former Australian Open champion. But, like in the first set, she struggled to find openings on the Wozniacki serve as the Dane got going.
Wozniacki created a pair of break chances in the first game, before converting later at 2-1. Kudermetova stayed in the games - bringing them to deuce in both of her service games - but Wozniacki outlasted her in the rallies, winning the majority of points longer than five shots. The Russian saved another pair of break points at 3-2, but couldn’t hold her off again as Wozniacki broke once more to take the match.
Up next, Wozniacki will take on Zhang Shuai in her next match as she seeks a seventh career fourth round appearance. Should she get past the Chinese player and win one more match, she’ll achieve something she’s never done before: reach the quarterfinals at Wimbledon for the first time.
Wozniacki is tied at 1-1 in her head-to-head record against Zhang, with the Chinese player triumphing in three sets in their most recent meeting at 2016 Indian Wells.