Caroline Wozniacki continued to build on her WTA Finals victory late last year with another impressive performance on her way to a 6-2 6-2 victory over Croatia’s Petra Martic to reach the quarter-finals of the Auckland Classic on Wednesday.
The Danish world number three ended 2017 with the biggest title of her career in Singapore and returned a day after thrashing Madison Brengle in her season opener to hit 21 winners against eight unforced errors in the 53-minute win over Martic.
“I‘m trying to stay aggressive,” Wozniacki said in a court-side interview. “I still made some unforced errors. It’s taking a few matches to play like 100 percent but I still felt I played pretty well today.”
Top seed Wozniacki started brightly with a break of serve to love on her way to an early 3-0 lead and added another break in the eighth game to wrap up the opening set in just 24 minutes on a glorious day in New Zealand’s largest city.
Martic tried to mount a comeback early in the second when she broke for a 2-0 lead but Wozniacki won the final six games behind impressive serving numbers, including six aces, to book a last eight encounter with young American Sofia Kenin.
“I’ve worked on everything I need to work on in the off-season,” Wozniacki added as she continues her preparations for the Australian Open starting in Melbourne on Jan. 15.
“Now it’s just a matter of working out how to incorporate that into your match or into a situation where you maybe get nervous.”
Kenin, a 19-year-old wild card, knocked out compatriot Varvara Lepchenko 6-4 7-6(6) earlier in the day and there were also victories for Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova.
Hsieh eased to a 6-4 6-3 victory over Belgian qualifier Ysaline Bonaventure to set up a quarter-final clash against Strycova after the third seeded Czech edged out Sweden’s Johanna Larsson 6-1 6-7(3) 6-2.
(John O’Brien in Singapore)