Caroline Wozniacki, current number five in the world made her debut at the US Open. The Dane has said on several occasions this is her favorite tournament and it’s not hard to see why as she has been a two-time finalist. Last year, the former world number one had another amazing run at Flushing Meadows as she reached the semifinals only to lose to the eventual champion, Angelique Kerber.
In her first round, she met Mihaela Buzarnescu who was making her first main draw appearance in a Grand Slam. Wozniacki played an almost perfect first set of tennis but her opponent put her to the test in the second one which showed a more erratic side from the Dane. Despite being down a break at the start of the second set, Wozniacki didn’t yield to the pressure and came back to win in one hour and twenty minutes to defeat Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-1, 7-5.
Wozniacki dominated to take the opening set
It wasn’t an ideal start for the Dane who in a matter of minutes was facing three break points, but the Romanian was not able to convert those chances as she hit three unforced errors to force a deuce which Wozniacki would win. After a stressful first game, the Dane seemed to have found her pace as she replied with a backhand winner and with that getting her first break point. But Buzarnescu hit two impressive winners to get back to deuce. Despite the effort, the Romanian was not able to outlast the defensive skills of Wozniacki and handed her the first break.
Unlike the first game of the match, Wozniacki didn’t face any problems to hold and lead 3-0. On the other side, Buzarnescu seemed to have overcome the nerves of playing her first main draw match as the Romanian went on to hold her serve and get on the scoreboard. But the former world number one was unstoppable, even daring to step away from her comfort zone and playing more aggressively. The Dane didn’t lose a point on her route to lead 4-1. The inexperience of Buzarnescu was shown as she lost her serve to give Wozniacki the chance to serve for the set. The Dane proved why the courts of the US Open bring out her best tennis as she cruised to take the first set 6-1, in just 25 minutes.
Buzarnescu improves, but it's not enough
The Romanian needed to improve her first serve if she wanted to give Wozniacki some problems. It was not an easy game for Buzarnescu, but she figured out how to hold. The next game would display the inconsistency of the Dane as she hit some unforced errors to give Buzarnescu a break point. Despite missing one chance, Buzarnescu then hit an impressive backhand winner to earn the break and lead 2-0. But Wozniacki stepped up before the Romanian could extend her lead as she broke to 15.
Back on serve, Wozniacki mended her previous mistakes and hold to equalize the scoreboard to 2-2. After an exchange of holds, Buzarnescu troubled herself as she committed several unforced errors to put Wozniacki back in the lead at 3-1. Despite the recent break, Buzarnescu had improved from the previous set as she now was trying to attack and put the Dane’s defensive skills to a test. The Romanian made a statement as she broke Wozniacki to love to tie the score to 3-3.
Following a great game, Buzarnescu was able to hold to be up 5-4 and attempt to break Wozniacki to force a third set. However, the two-times US Open finalist wasn’t going to hand out the set so easily as she raced to hold to love. Wozniacki broke for the third time at a crucial moment as this meant the Dane would serve to book a spot in the second round. A forehand unforced errors put Wozniacki in trouble as she faced a break point, but Buzarnescu missed her chance after a backhand error. The Romanian’s backhand went beyond the baseline on match point, sealing the victory of the Dane.
Next for Wozniacki
In the next round, Wozniacki will face Ekaterina Makarova, former Top 10 player, and US Open semifinalist. However, the Dane should come into this encounter feeling confident as she leads the head-to-head 7-0. Their last match was in 2014 at Madrid where Wozniacki won in straight sets, only losing four points.