Caroline Wozniacki off the mark in Auckland

Published by AP

Caroline Wozniacki
The Australian Open champion reached the Auckland final last January before her title triumph in Melbourne.

Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki acknowledged she was rusty in her first match in 2019 as she beat lucky loser Laura Siegemund 6-3 6-2 in the first round of the ASB Classic in Auckland.

After waiting until the third day of the tournament to play her opening match, Wozniacki was efficient in the first set on Wednesday, breaking Siegemund in the fourth game and going on to clinch the set in 42 minutes.

She broke twice for a 3-0 lead in the second set before becoming troubled by a swirling wind on the stadium court and a tenacious opponent who mixed her ground strokes effectively.

“I definitely felt a bit rusty out there, just with that little bit of wind,” Wozniacki said.

“It wasn’t my prettiest match but I just tried to hang in there and tried to serve well and get a lot of balls back.”

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Wozniacki is playing the Auckland tournament for the fifth time having reached the final last year, losing to Julia Goerges, before going on to win the Australian Open.

“I’m just so happy to be back here, warming up in the same way and hopefully that will lead me to have good luck in Australia again this year.”

Siegemund made it into the main draw as a lucky loser, going down in the final round of qualifying to Bianca Andreescu but winning a place in the main draw after the withdrawal of Margarita Gasparyan with a leg injury.

“She’s a tricky player,” Wozniacki said.

“She comes to the net, she fights for the ball, she mixes the pace so it’s not easy for sure. I’m just happy to be through and get another shot out here tomorrow.”

Wozniacki will play Canadian qualifier Andreescu in the second round on Thursday.

Third-seeded Hsieh Su-Wei beat Puerto Rico’s Olympic champion Monica Puig 6-1 7-6 (3) while seventh-seed Kirsten Flipkens was beaten 6-4 1-6 6-1 by Spaniard Sara Sorribes-Tormo.

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