x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Caroline Wozniacki advances to third-round of Australian Open

The No 1 seed beats her second-round opponent Vania King 6-1, 6-0 as her Australian Open bid gathers momentum.

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark is rising to the challenge as being the world No 1 at a major tournament.
Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark is rising to the challenge as being the world No 1 at a major tournament.

MELBOURNE // Caroline Wozniacki advanced to the third-round of the Australian Open with an emphatic 6-1, 6-0 win over the American Vania King as her first major as world No 1 continued to gather momentum.

The Dane, 20, was never troubled in the 58-minute match, breaking 88th-ranked King's serve to finish it off and reach the third round for a 13th consecutive grand slam tournament. She has yet to win a major, but has held the No 1 ranking since October and can retain it by reaching the semi-finals here.

To get to the semis, she might have to beat the seven-time major winner Justine Henin, who continued her comeback from injury with a 6-1, 6-3 win over the Briton Elena Baltacha on centre court.

The pair could meet in the quarter-finals. Henin will have to get through a tough match against the two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova just to get past the third-round. The 23-seeded Kuznetsova beat Dutch qualifier Arantxa Rus 6-1, 6-4.

"I have a lot of good memories, almost all good memories, from Melbourne," said Henin, the 2004 Australian champion and runner-up here in 2006 and last year, when she was returning from a career break from the tour. Her comeback was stalled after Wimbledon — she could not play because of an elbow injury — and is making another return of sorts at Melbourne Park.

"I've been fighting hard the last few months and it's great to be back in Australia."

Wozniacki is enjoying the extra pressure that comes with being ranked No 1. She said she would rather be dealing with the expectations than be just another up-and-comer.

"Definitely in the position I am now. There's no doubt about it," she said. "If you ask any player if they would rather be No 1 in the world or No 50 in the world and coming up, I think everyone would pick No 1."

Three women could finish the tournament at No 1. Kim Clijsters and Vera Zvonareva are the others.

No 8 Victoria Azarenka, the 2010 quarterfinalist who has lost to Serena Williams the last three years here, beat Andrea Hlavackova 6-4, 6-4.