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Australian Open 2020: Caroline Wozniacki begins swansong with win over Kristie Ahn

  • Wozniaki is in her last tournament before she hangs up her rackets
Rudy Martinez
Modified 20 Jan 2020, 09:53 IST

Caroline Wozniaki will retire after the Australian Open
Caroline Wozniaki will retire after the Australian Open

Caroline Wozniacki made a good start to her curtain call at the Australian Open on Monday. The former world number one took care of business against Kristie Ahn to win at Melbourne Arena 6-1, 6-3 at Melbourne Park.

This was the first match-up between the American and the Danish veteran. After her announcement to retire from tennis, the Dane made good on going far in Auckland to prepare for the two-week tournament. With every point, game, and match important for the 2018 champion, Wozniacki would give it her all to surpass the opening round against the American.

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I’ve played professionally since I was 15 years old. In that time I’ve experienced an amazing first chapter of my life. With 30 WTA singles titles, a world #1 ranking for 71 weeks, a WTA Finals victory, 3 Olympics, including carrying the flag for my native Denmark, and winning the 2018 Australian Open Grand slam championship, I’ve accomplished everything I could ever dream of on the court. I’ve always told myself, when the time comes, that there are things away from tennis that I want to do more, then it’s time to be done. In recent months, I’ve realized that there is a lot more in life that I’d like to accomplish off the court. Getting married to David was one of those goals and starting a family with him while continuing to travel the world and helping raise awareness about rheumatoid arthritis (project upcoming) are all passions of mine moving forward. So with that, today I am announcing that I will be retiring from professional tennis after the Australian Open in January. This has nothing to do with my health and this isn’t a goodbye, I look forward to sharing my exciting journey ahead with all of you! Finally, I want to thank with all my heart, the fans, my friends, my sponsors, my team, especially my father as my coach, my husband, and my family for decades of support! Without all of you I could have never have done this!

A post shared by Caroline Wozniacki (@carowozniacki) on

She coasted through her opening game, before nerves from Ahn earned her a 2-0 lead. Problems continued for the American that led the Dane to march forward with a 4-0 run after 15 minutes. Wozniacki was ready to close the door on Ahn, but a push back from the 27-year-old helped her get on the board and avoid the shutout. The lone win didn’t help her much further against the Dane who rushed to set point to end the first in 24 minutes. Ahn had 14 unforced errors that opened the door for her opponent to outscore her 26-12.

Ahn came into the second set challenging the former world into a ten-deuce draw. After 18 minutes and a total of 25 points. Wozniacki rushed to victory in the second and let the 27-year-old err on serves in the third. The American managed a break back in the fourth and consolidated a second win to get within reach of Wozniacki.

Despite losing a service game, the 29-year-old regained a two-game margin. Ahn kept her spirit alive to stay in touch with the former Australia Open champion in the seventh but had to wait while the roof closed due to rain. When play resumed, Wozniacki served out the eighth game and earned her chance at playing for the match. Gaining three match points, she battled through a 25-shot rally and made her way into the second round with a double fault from Ahn ending the match at 1 hour and 25 minutes.

“I felt pretty good. She was playing really well and aggressive with that forehand, mixed the tempo a lot. I got nervous in the end. Once that roof closed, I felt I relaxed a little bit and was able to finish that off.”

With the hope to continue playing forward, the Dane will prepare for the challenge against either Slovenian Kaja Juvan or Ukraine's Dayana Yastremska who is under the tutelage of Wozniacki's former hitting partner Sascha Baijin.

Also read: 5 fun facts about the Australian Open

Published 20 Jan 2020, 09:53 IST
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