Caroline Wozniacki overcame a tough opening round at the US Open Tuesday. The former two-time Open finalist in New York went the distance against Yafan Wang to win 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 on Grandstand Court at the Billy Jean King National Tennis Center.
The two haven’t met in four years making it a good chance that the Dane would comfortably have control over the 24-year-old Chinese star.
Wozniacki’s comfort of playing in New York for the 13th time and the hope to surpass her two years of going out in the second round. With the first round always being a test of skills, the 28-year-old eyed a good start and very little struggle to go along with it.
It did not go that way as Wang earned the right to serve and made good to defend her end of the court. She went on to capture the break as the Dane was still shaking off the rust in the second.
After the 25-year-old took a 3-0 lead, eyes went on Wozniacki to see if she could turn things around. She couldn’t as her first double fault got her into a bigger hole giving Wang the start of what looked to be a runaway.
She continued to paint the court with shots that Wozniacki wasn’t getting to until a double fault of her own sent them to deuce in the fifth.
Wozniacki had a chance to get on the board but the fight from Wang turned the tables enough to clinch her fifth straight over the former World No.1. In a last-ditch effort to hold and record a win in the set, Wozniacki caught a break to lock down a service hold.
Drawing errors from Wang ended the pivotal shutout that seemed imminent but despite her lone win, the set remained with the 25-year-old. Wang went on to comfortably finish the set in 31 minutes.
Wozniacki was dragging her second serve that only helped on one of six points from it. With that and a terrible return game, the two-time US Open finalist needed a massive improvement to arrive.
She did just that with the first serve flawless and 75 percent of points won on the second serve through the first three games. Wang never got a chance to make use of her second serve and barely made any returns against her.
When her second attempt to serve came she dug in and allowed Wozniacki a single point. The Dane stayed on track but watched Wang climb back within two games after six.
The confidence Wang had increased as she stole the first three points in the seventh that broke Wozniacki cutting her lead down to one. The 19th seed was again deadlocked at four-all as Wang held the eighth showing her push to pull off the upset. The two remained locked on the service games that sent them to a five-all tie with Wozniacki continuing to hold in the late stages.
In an attempt to stop the set from going to a tiebreak Wozniacki jumped out to 30-0 with three straight winners for set point. A long return from Wang ultimately put her into a decider to end 52 minutes for her 10th unforced error.
With both players playing even tennis, the third set came down to who could remain patient and continue playing well. Through the first six games, each one held their end until a hold in the seventh allowed her to consolidate it with a break in the eighth for the 5-3 hold.
Having her patience come up to give her a shot at the match, the 28-year-old served for the match giving Wang one final offensive rush. Gaining three match points, the former World No.1 got the job done in two hours and eight minutes.
“I think I started off not bad but not great,” said Wozniacki who recapped the match. “She played really well and I lost my rhythm a little bit. She was really playing aggressive so I had to step it up and did at the end and turned it around.”
In what was a huge save for the 19th seed, she would have to play a tighter game going against Danielle Collins on Thursday.