Caroline Wozniacki got a lot of help from her opponent to emerge victorious at the Mutua Madrid Open on Sunday afternoon. The world number two contained her game while Daria Gavrilova‘s suffered in a 6-3, 6-1 score on centre court at La Caja Magica.
The Dane’s retirement from the quarterfinals at Istanbul put her in the spotlight on whether or not she was ready to compete in the two weeks of heavy clay court tournaments. Coming into Madrid had her pitted against the Australian who she defeated two years ago at Doha in straight sets.
Gavrilova hasn’t had strong showings recently losing early in Prague and Charleston leaving some hope for the world number two to come out of the opening round smoothly.
After fighting for the opening point, Wozniacki maintained strong court position before launching a cross-court attack that gave her the service hold. Gavrilova showed determination to match the skills of the world number two, bringing together a combination of hard groundstrokes and crosscourt winners.
The third game showed a groove of control as they stretched out the rallies with Wozniacki holding. She put her game into a new gear that secured the first break in game four opening the gap on the scoreboard.
It didn’t last long as Gavrilova pulled together a break in the following game showing her fighting contention to give the world number two very little comfort. The Aussie achieved level terms with Wozniacki holding her back in the sixth with a forehand game-winner. Wozniacki got back the lead on serve making some trick shots difficult for Gavrilova who folded under the pressure.
After a conference on the court with her father and coach, the world number two carved out a second break in the eighth bringing together a service for the set. The backhand winners played a role in her successfully getting the job done in the ninth stopping Gavrilova in her tracks, concluding 38 minutes of play.
She recorded 13 unforced errors through the nine games played that clearly had her frustrated. Jarryd Maher came out during the break to try and keep the Australian relaxed as she briefly expressed her issues of the second serve.
She tried to battle it back in the first game of the second set but the nerves overshadowed her efforts losing a long drawn out fight with Wozniacki. The loss for Gavrilova took a toll on her offence giving the Dane plenty of breathing room in the shape of a 3-0 hold.
The fourth game saw Gavrilova doing everything possible to bring a close to Wozniacki’s dominance forcing a deuce in the competition. They went four breaks were the Aussie's errors only built the frustrations higher than ever. After nine minutes elapsed, the inability to gain the break was her downfall putting the second seed closer to ending her day on the court.
Gavrilova managed to bring an end to Wozniacki’s winning streak, ending the game with a net-front lob that dropped ever so softly to extend her time in the match. They did just that in the sixth where another battle from the Aussie who dealt with her errors before fighting the Dane through four long breaks.
In the end, Gavrilova recorded her 26th error of the match that handed Wozniacki a 5-1 grip playing for the match. She wasted no time to finish off Gavrilova with double match point that brought a closer to 1 hour and 29 minutes of play.
With the first of many out of the way, the challenge grows for the second seed as she’ll face the winner between Sara Errani and Ashleigh Barty in the second round.Published 07 May 2018, 03:28 IST