Australian Open 2019: Wozniacki holds back Larsson to advance forward
Johanna Larsson gave a good challenge but never gained a position to defeat her opponent at the Australian Open Wednesday. Caroline Wozniacki contained the challenges from the Swede to win her second-round match playing well to a 6-1, 6-3 score on Margaret Court Arena at Melbourne Park.
The two regulars on the WTA tour had never met before making it a very interesting clash in the second round. The defending champion came out with a hot racket that produced a strong win against Alison Van Uytvanck who gave it her best to challenge the Dane.
Larsson didn’t get much time on court after Vera Lapko bowed out three games into the second set. With energy left in the tank for the Swede, she would push it to the limit to try and pull off an upset if her game allowed her any dictation in the match.
Larsson got the first two points against Wozniacki’s serve but couldn’t keep the fight going. It slipped from her hands as the third seed won four straight to hold serve. She made the Swede pay the price shutting her out on serve in the second. A serve to love gave Wozniacki the 3-0 win before Larsson found a way to get into a good fight. The two got to deuce where the rallies became extensive with one even going 26 shots. Their relentless shot streak pushed the game to nearly seven minutes before Larsson got it.
The defending champion got back to business with another good hold to return the three-game margin between herself and the Swede. The 30-year-old came up with more brilliant moves to make her service game difficult for the Dane to deal with.
The double faults were the killing point for Larsson as she blew it to hand the third seed control to try and put the set away. Wozniacki coasted to win as Larsson erred too many times in the seventh to bring an end to 27 minutes. While the Swede had 14, the Dane kept her mistakes low making sure that her opponent was the one who remained under stress.
She started the second set keeping a steady level of difficulty for Wozniacki who had three break points but erred each time. The Swede found her chance after the second break of deuce to secure the win and get out front early. With the bar set, Wozniacki had to match her opponent and did it with a great push that leveled the score. She made Larsson pay for the tenacity and broke her apart in the third.
Consolidating the break with another hold in the fourth allowed Wozniacki the breathing room necessary to be a major powerhouse going forward. It made a dent in Larsson’s gameplay which at times struggled but still saw her keep a level of skill that kept her within reach in the set. Wozniacki had different feelings about that and earned another shutout of Larsson in the sixth to jump back to a two-game buffer.
The Swede was relentless to go down while giving everything she had against the third seed. Wozniacki inched closer to the goal but not without a few bumps in the road. She found herself playing another drawn-out game in the eighth with Larsson gaining break point opportunities.
After five breaks and eight minutes elapsed, Wozniacki got the win to contain the serve and pressure by Larsson, who served to keep the match going. The defending champion wanted none of that and got to match point capping her second round with a line drive return ending one hour and six minutes.
“I thought I started off pretty well,” Wozniacki said during her on-court interview. “I started off very aggressively and served really well. She started making less errors, she started playing it deep which threw me off a little bit and then just stayed consistent.” With another coast through the early rounds, it was going to get harder facing the winner between Rebecca Peterson and Maria Sharapova on Friday.