ROME, Italy - Caroline Wozniacki needed just over an hour and a half to make a winning start to her Internazionali BNL d’Italia campaign against Alison Van Uytvanck, 6-1, 6-4.
The victory also keeps Wozniacki’s hopes for reclaiming the WTA World No.1 ranking alive. Wozniacki has a chance to do so here in Rome, so long as Simona Halep does not reach the quarterfinals and Wozniacki finishes one round further than her.
“I think it's the combination of everything [that makes Rome so special],” Wozniacki said. “I think it's the setting. I think it's the tradition. I think it's the history. I think it's having the
crowd close to you.
“[Pietrangeli] used to be the old center court when I first started on tour. And I really love that about this tournament, to have the statues and everything. It was cool.”
The opening set against Van Uytvanck was much tighter than the one-sided scoreline suggested; both players struck the same number of winners (17), and the Belgian even created more break chances than her opponent with six against Wozniacki’s five.
But Van Uytvanck was only able to convert once, and she struggled to close out games from positions of advantage - as a result, Wozniacki was able to come back from behind and break three times to take the opening set.
The second set proved more competitive as Van Uytvanck found her footing against the reigning Australian Open champion. She kept pace against Wozniacki, trading breaks to start the set and even earning points to level when Wozniacki broke once more at 3-2. But like in the opening set, she wasn’t able to convert and Wozniacki had all the answers, closing out the match after an hour and 35 minutes on court.
Up next, Wozniacki will take on No.15 seed Anastasija Sevastova in the third round; the Latvian defeated Aleksandra Krunic 6-4, 6-4 earlier in the day. Wozniacki is still seeking her first clay court title since 2011.