Former World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki gutted out a thrilling three-setter against Olympic champion Monica Puig to reach the second round of the Apia International Sydney.
WTA Staff

SYDNEY, Australia - No.10 seed Caroline Wozniacki survived a titanic tussle against Olympic tennis event winner Monica Puig, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, to advance into the second round of the Apia International Sydney.

"It's a tough match, because, you know, you kind of feel, like, oh, I'm winning pretty comfortably right now, but then she can go on a streak, starts hitting winners, has such a good serve," the Dane explained in her post-match press conference. "That's where it started going in in the second set, and then the third set I tried to stay closer to the baseline and maybe play a little deeper.

"It paid off. But, yeah,  win is a win. I'll take it."

Wozniacki had just come off a quarterfinal appearance at the ASB Classic, while Puig was looking for her first win of the season, having dropped her opening round match to Elina Svitolina at the Brisbane International. The No.10 seed broke at her first opportunity and held on for dear life to start the match, gutting out a five-deuce game to hold for 5-2 and ultimately serve out the opening set in 47 minutes.

Puig served notice last summer when she took home Puerto Rico's first ever Olympic gold medal, but was even more impressive off the return in the second set, break serve three times to level the match.

Much like the first set, Wozniacki broke early in the third and never let go, even as Puig showed all her mettle to hold in a six-deuce game at 3-1 in the decider.

"I changed up my practice quite a bit. I did a lot of other things, probably spent more time on court than I have in a long time and less time in the gym, actually.

"That was a big change for me, because I have worked so hard on my fitness and worked so hard on trying to prevent injuries.

"But at the end of the day, I think I sometimes need to ease off a little bit. I guess I'm not a spring chicken anymore. Sometimes less is more."

Clinching victory on her first match point, Wozniacki booked a second-round encounter with Yulia Putintseva.

"I was proud of how I managed to just keep grinding today. I feel pretty good. I'm not nervous about my form. I think it's going to be fine."