Caroline Wozniacki survives early scare to stay alive at Sydney International

07 Jan, 2014 03:00 AM
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Stretched: Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark hits a return to Julia Gorges of Germany during their women's singles match at the Sydney International.
Stretched: Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark hits a return to Julia Gorges of Germany during their women's singles match at the Sydney International.

Tournament heavyweight Caroline Wozniacki avoided joining Jelena Jankovic as the first high-profile casualties at the Sydney International after coming back from a set down to win her match on Monday.

Just days after former world No.1 golfer Rory McIlroy proposed to the Danish sensation in Sydney on New Year's Eve, the world No.10 continued her love affair with Australia to knock over German Julia Goerges 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.

A loss would have been hard to swallow given her opponent had withdrawn from the qualifiers through injury, only to be called back into the draw as a lucky loser to replace Sloane Stephens, who pulled out of the tournament on Sunday with a wrist injury.

Despite a shaky start, Wozniacki composed herself to storm home in the second and third sets to set up a second round clash against Czech Republic's Lucie Safarova.

After an impressive 2013, which saw Jankovic climb her way back into the top 10, her new campaign didn't get off to the best of starts against Russian Ekaterina Makarova.

The Serbian managed to win just six games in tough conditions on Ken Rosewall Arena, sent packing to Melbourne earlier than anticipated with a 6-4, 6-2 loss in the first round.

Reigning women's champion and world No.5 Agnieszka Radwanska will make her first appearance at the Sydney International for 2014 in the second round on Tuesday.

Radwanska, who started last season with title victories in Auckland and Sydney, struggled at the end of the year losing all three matches at the WTA Championships in Turkey last October.

However she believes a busy workload was the cause of her end-of-year form slump where she lost to Serena Williams, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber in Istanbul, adamant she has returned fresh from the two-month layoff.

''I think I really had a lot of matches in Asia,'' Radwanska said. ''I played 13 matches in 18 days, which was a lot. I think a little bit too much. I thought I would be ready, and I just remember I had just two days off and I said, I'm going to practice and go back on court and be ready for the championships.

''I think it was not enough rest between, and I was done after Asia. So, yeah, I think it was more mentally and physically as well, I think. So, yeah, of course it's always good problem to have, to play a lot. It means you're winning. But in the end, not really [good].

The tournament No.1 seed expected to play against Canadian Eugenie Bouchard but American qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands upset the world No.31 to set up a second-round clash with Poland's top ranked female player.

''To be honest, I thought I'm going to play Bouchard again - I played against her last week,'' she said. ''I think Bethanie is playing well. I played I think against her last year in Melbourne and it was a three hour match. It wasn't easy.''

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