x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Dubai Tennis Championships: Wozniacki makes quick work of Safarova

Former world No 1 says she has found her hunder back and is enjoying the game like she did as a kid.

Caroline Wozniacki made light work of Lucie Safarova last night in Dubai. Antonie Robertson / The National
Caroline Wozniacki made light work of Lucie Safarova last night in Dubai. Antonie Robertson / The National

DUBAI // It appears Caroline Wozniacki has discovered the thrill of the fast life.

The Dane spent Sunday afternoon riding at 80kph down Wild Wadi's Jumeirah Sceirah waterslide and, yesterday, in her opening-round match of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, she took just an hour to dispatch Lucie Safarova 6-2, 6-2.

Wozniacki, a former World No 1, triumphed at the Aviation Club in 2011, but has endured a tough couple of years since, including a second-round defeat to Safarova in Doha last February in a match that lasted two hours 28 minutes.

Under the flood lights last night, however, the 22 year old made light work of her opponent, racing to a 5-1 lead in the first set before losing her serve but immediately breaking back.

Thirty one minutes later, she was celebrating a comfortable victory and looking forward to meeting Zheng Jie today.

"Last time it was a lot tougher," she said. "Generally, I felt the ball pretty well. The ball sometimes flies here a little bit, but it was OK today. Lucie is a tough opponent. She tries to take the ball really early, really fast.

"It's tricky to play a left-hander, as well. So, for me, I'm just happy to be through and I felt that there was quite a few positives to take from the match, but also a few things I can improve."

Wozniacki finished 2010 and 2011 as the game's top player but has slipped down the rankings and is now 10th in the world.

She insists, however, she has rediscovered the exuberance and determination of her early days and hopes the results return also.

"At one point, it was just a job and going and playing. All of a sudden, I was going to practice, and I was like, 'OK, I'm winning almost everything at the moment'.

"You need to motivate yourself, and all of a sudden you don't win as much," the No 8 seed said. "But I feel like I've gotten that hunger back and that enjoyment of the game like when I was a little kid."

In the earlier matches, the No 6 seed Petra Kvitova beat Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 6-1 to set up a second round tie with Ana Ivanovic, while Zheng came out on top against Urszula Radwanska 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.

Roberta Vinci defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-2 and will face Angelique Kerber today.

In the late match, Samantha Stosur won 10 out of her last 11 games to beat Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-1. "[I'm] playing a lot better and moving a lot better, so it's a case of so far, so good and hopefully I can keep going for a few more days."

Stosur will now meet Su-wei Hsieh of Chinese Taipei today for a place in the quarter-finals.

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae

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