x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Wozniacki breezes into US Open second round

Caroline Wozniacki goes to the second round of the US Open while Jelena Jankovic struggled through.

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark serves against Chelsey Gullickson during the first round at the U.S. Open on Sept. 1, 2010.
Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark serves against Chelsey Gullickson during the first round at the U.S. Open on Sept. 1, 2010.

Danish top seed Caroline Wozniacki breezed into the second round of the US Open on yesterday while fourth seed Jelena Jankovic struggled through and China's eighth-seeded Li Na was eliminated. Wozniacki, who lost to Kim Clijsters in last year's US Open final, began her quest for her first Grand Slam title by dispatching US wild card Chelsey Gullickson 6-1, 6-1 in a 61-minute match-up of 20-year-olds.

Wozniacki, who has a season-best four titles the year and a 15-1 record since Wimbledon, played solid defence and frustrated the power-hitting American college champion at every turn. "I'm really happy," Wozniacki said. "The first match is always tough. I'm happy to be through and into the second round." Jankovic, seeking her first Grand Slam title, beat 96th-rated Romanian teen Simona Halep 6-4, 4-6, 7-5. The 2008 US Open runner-up nearly suffered her first opening-match Slam exit since the 2005 French Open.

"For me, first match is always the toughest. She played really well," said Jankovic. "I had to work for every point. I wasn't playing my best tennis. I was able to find a way to get through." Jankovic, a Serbian whose only Grand Slam final was her 2008 US Open loss to Serena Williams, and Wozniacki can move past injured Williams to claim the world number one ranking by capturing the US Open title.

"I know I can do that," Jankovic said. "It's just a matter of believing in myself, having the confidence and doing the right things on the court because I really want to get my tennis to another level." Li, the highest Chinese seed in Grand Slam history, lost 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 to Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko. The Australian Open semi-finalist had not lost a Grand Slam opener since the 2006 Australian Open.

"It was sad to lose in the first round," Li said. "I just have to forget everything and practise again and hope I come back again soon." Li breezed through the first set in 31 minutes but wilted in the afternoon heat while Bondarenko, ranked 59th, showed the form that made her a US Open quarter-finalist last year in her best career Grand Slam showing. "It was so hot," Li said. "I felt good in the first set. The second set, I felt like I died. The energy just faded." * AFP