Tennis: Caroline Wozniacki survives early season nerves

By Dana Johannsen

Caroline Wozniacki. Photo / Getty
Caroline Wozniacki. Photo / Getty

It seems even the WTA Tour's seasoned performers can be prone to bouts of early season nerves.

Caroline Wozniacki has written off her shaky start to the ASB Classic as a case of a "little bit of rust and a little bit of nerves" after struggling past world number 57 Danka Kovinic 6-4 6-4 in her first round match-up yesterday.

The former world number one endured an early scare against the determined youngster, who is considered one of the rising stars of the tour, dropping the first four games of the match.

Having earlier seen 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone slump to a first-round loss to Austrian qualifier and world number 172 Tamira Paszek in a marathon three-setter, it was beginning to look like it might be a day for the underdogs on centre court at the ASB Tennis Centre.

But Wozniacki dug deep to pull off a remarkable turnaround, reeling off six straight games to claim the opening set. Having found more consistency with her baseline play, Wozniacki looked more in control of the second set, although Kovinic, who hails from Montenegro, continued to challenge the third seed with her big hitting.

"It's always tough when it's the first match of the season, you just want to get a good start and get things going," said Wozniacki, who the first of the three big names up on centre court yesterday.

"I was just trying to get the rhythm she went for her shots, she had a big serve and I just didn't keep up in the beginning - I kind of had to pick up a gear."

While it was not the strong statement she had hoped to make in her first outing of 2016, but Wozniacki said there was still enough positives for her to take into today's second round match against American Christina McHale.

"I think I served pretty well and I was pretty happy with my returns because she had a really big serve. And just my [fightback]- it's never easy being down four-love especially when you're just starting out the season, you kind of hope for a better start than that," she said.

McHale had a much more straightforward start to the tournament, taking little more than an hour to get past Japan's Doi Misaki 6-2 6-4, in what was the first of several quickfire matches on the outside courts.

- NZ Herald

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