NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (AFP) –
Caroline Wozniacki launched her bid for a fifth straight New Haven WTA title with a 6-3, 6-3 first-round victory over Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova.
Wozniacki, seeded third in a field headed by Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska, needed an hour and 21 minutes to book a second-round clash with Sweden’s Sofia Arvidsson, a 6-4, 6-1 winner over Melanie Oudin of the United States.
A fifth successive title in the hardcourt tune-up for the US Open would put former world number one Wozniacki in elite company. Only Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert have won the same WTA Tour title five or more times in a row.
She improved to 18-0 lifetime at the tournament and extended her career dominance over Makarova, who hasn’t managed to win a set from the Dane in their four meetings.
Fourth-seeded French Open runner-up Sara Errani also advanced, rallying from 2-5 down in the second set to seal a 6-4, 7-5 victory over unseeded American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Sixth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia also advanced with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Spain’s Anabel Medina Garrigues while seventh-seeded Russian Maria Kirilenko cruised past Shahar Peer of Israel, 6-2, 6-2.
Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, who has battled injuries all year, made a winning return to WTA action with a 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 victory over Hungarian Timea Babos.
Petkovic missed three months from January to April with a back injury, then hurt her ankle in her second match back and missed another four months. She has fallen out of the top 10 to her current 43rd in the world.
“I was very nervous today, but also very excited. It was a great match and Timea was playing so well,” Petkovic said. “I was really emotional after the match.”
Qualifier Olga Govortsova of Belarus defeated Vera Dushevina 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 6-2 to set up a clash with Poland’s Radwanska, who enjoyed a first-round bye as did second-seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic.
Kvitova will open her campaign against Nicole Gibbs, a US qualifier playing in just her third WTA main draw. Gibbs defeated fellow qualifier Alexa Glatch in three sets, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.