Caroline Wozniacki, Denmark’s world #19, has fallen well short of her high standards of late and had a summer to forget in Europe. Back in New York, where the Dane reached the final in 2009 and 2014, she is no longer ranked amongst the contenders by most. In fact, just being on court seems a battle for Wozniacki at times. But in the first round in Flushing Meadows, she managed to battle past Wang Yafan 1-6 7-5 6-3.
After her disappointing season, Wozniacki may well have lost heart when she found herself on the wrong end of a 5-0 deficit against Wang, the champion in Acapulco earlier this season. But Wozniacki is a fighter if she is anything. Through will more than skill, she managed to get a service game on the board and steady the ship. But although Wang’s serves were more accurate than powerful, Wozniacki struggled to work her way into points against the Chinese’s serve throughout the opening set.
Her late stand came far too late for her to rescue anything from the first set, but during the changeover, she managed to find the sort of defiant spirit that helped to take her to the title at Melbourne Park last season. Though she remained vulnerable, letting a 4-1 lead slip, she hung tough to capture the second set. And in the decider, she stepped it up a level. Wozniacki began serving into the body of Wang and upped her first serve percentage to 72%. That increase proved vital as she sealed the set 6-3 and her place in the second round.
Wozniacki Hoping to Avoid Fifth Second Round Defeat in New York
You can analyse statistics all you like, but what they won’t tell is that the former-world #1 is clearly struggling physically at the moment. It seems likely that her diagnosis with rheumatoid arthritis, which came late last year, is a factor in that, but it is hard to know how exactly that impacts her preparation and during matches. But it is abundantly clear that playing tennis is more of a struggle for Wozniacki than it was early in her career
But the Dane will still surely be desperate to avoid a fifth exit in the second round in the Big Apple, including in both of the last two years. Indeed, it is almost becoming something of a bogey-round for Wozniacki. The tricky Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko saw her off last year, although Wozniacki picked up an injury in the run-up to the 2018 US Open and wasn’t even certain to play in it. Therefore, should she make it into the third round on Thursday, she will surely be confident of a deep run.
Danielle Collins Up Next for Caroline Wozniacki
The inconsistent, but potentially dangerous American world #35 Danielle Collins came through her own gruelling three setter, against Slovenia’s Polona Hercog, in the first round. It was a fairly laboured performance from Collins, as she relied more on grit than quality to advance. However, she put in a similar display against Julia Goerges in the first round at the Australian Open earlier this year and that somehow ignited an impressive run to the semifinals.
Wozniacki can’t worry too much about that, she has to find her own rhythm first. The head-to-head is tied at 1-1, with both meetings coming on clay. Whilst it has the makings of a tight match, whoever gets on top early could well stay there. Wozniacki certainly cannot afford for the doubts to settle in against a player of the American’s quality. Particularly because Collins has the slightly better hard-court record for the season. However, it’s an opportunity for both to galvanise what has been a generally disappointing year.
Hardcourt records 2019
Player Win Loss Played %
Danielle Collins 11 8 19 57.89%
Caroline Wozniacki 7 6 13 53.85%
There are positives for Caroline Wozniacki. Avoiding another second round US Open defeat would surely give her impetus for the rest of the tournament.
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