Australian Open

Emotional Wozniacki launches Australian Open defence

2019-01-14 12:05
Caroline Wozniacki
Caroline Wozniacki (AP)

Melbourne - Caroline Wozniacki fought back tears after launching her Australian Open defence with a convincing 6-3, 6-4 win over Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium on Monday.

The third seed won her maiden Slam at Melbourne Park last year but has since been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, a debilitating auto-immune disease that has threatened to derail her career.

The Dane, who is bidding to become the first woman to defend the title since Victoria Azarenka in 2013, showed no outward sign of the illness as she eased past world number 52 Van Uytvanck in straight sets.

But her emotions came bubbling to the surface after the win as she reflected on returning to the venue where she made her career breakthrough after more than a decade of trying.

"It's such a special feeling, I love playing back here," she said. 

"Last year I had some special memories and just to be able to be back out here on Rod Laver Arena is something extremely special and emotional.

"Now I'm going to start crying and I never cry."

The 31-year-old has proved she can still compete despite the illness by winning in Beijing in October but her Melbourne campaign will test whether she can still cope with the gruelling two-week slog of a Grand Slam. 

Wozniacki appeared to move freely despite energy-sapping conditions, engaging in long rallies with her dogged opponent who she described before the match as "tricky". 

Van Uytvanck is already a proven giant killer, eliminating last year's defending Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza in the second round in England.

Wozniacki was taking no chances, stepping up own aggression and attacking the net. 

The Dane struggled to find her range with some returns and came close to going down a break in the opening game before serving her way out of trouble. 

The turning point came when Van Uytvanck defended three break points in the sixth game but conceded a fourth with a double fault. 

Wozniacki seized the opening and never looked back, serving out the set after 48 minutes as Van Uytvanck undermined her own cause with 18 double faults. 

The title holder raced through the second set, showing some nerves as she squandered two match points but finally sealing the victory on the third.

Results from Day 1 of the Australian Open on Monday:


Round 1

Mackenzie McDonald (USA) bt Andrey Rublev (RUS) 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4

Radu Albot (MDA) bt Michael Mmoh (USA) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2

Fernando Verdasco (ESP x26) bt Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 6-3

John Millman (AUS) bt Federico Del Bonis (ARG) 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-2

Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) bt Tennys Sandgren (USA) 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-4

Karen Khachanov (RUS x10) bt Peter Gojowczyk (GER) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3

Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x14) bt Matteo Berrettini (ITA) 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4)

Viktor Troicki (SRB) bt Roberto Carballes (ESP) 6-1, 1-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4

Stefano Travaglia (ITA) bt Guido Andreozzi (ARG) 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 6-3, 6-2

Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO x19) bt Christopher Eubanks (USA) 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-3

Gael Monfils (FRA x30) bt Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 6-0, 6-4, 6-0

Taylor Fritz (USA) bt Cameron Norrie (GBR) 6-3, 7-6 (8/6), 6-2

Daniel Evans (GBR) bt Tatsuma Ito (JPN) 7-5, 6-1, 7-6 (10/8)

Kevin Anderson (RSA x5) bt Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1

Frances Tiafoe (USA) bt Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND) 7-6 (9/7), 6-3, 6-3

Jordan Thompson (AUS) bt Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 6-1, 7-6 (7/0), 6-3

Andreas Seppi (ITA) bt Steve Johnson (USA x31) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3

Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x20) bt Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-4

Pablo Cuevas (URU) bt Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 6-4, 7-5, 6-1

Thomas Fabbiano (ITA) bt Jason Kubler (AUS) 6-4, 7-6 (7/1), 2-6, 6-3

Reilly Opelka (USA) bt John Isner (USA x9) 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/5)

Tomas Berdych (CZE) bt Kyle Edmund (GBR x13) 6-3, 6-0, 7-5

Robin Haase (NED) bt Guillermo Garc1a-Lopez (ESP) 7-5, 6-4, 7-5

Denis Kudla (USA) bt Marc Polmans (AUS) 5-7, 1-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2

Diego Schwartzman (ARG x18) bt Rudolf Molleker (GER) 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0

Alex De Minaur (AUS x27) bt Pedro Sousa (POR) 6-4, 7-5, 6-4

Henri Laaksonen (SUI) bt Mirza Basic (BIH) 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 6-3

Matthew Ebden (AUS) bt Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 1-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4

Rafael Nadal (ESP x2) bt James Duckworth


Round 1

Irina Begu (ROM) bt Andrea Petkovic (GER) 6-7 (3/7), 4-3 retired

Belinda Bencic (SUI) bt Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 6-4, 2-6, 6-3

Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) bt Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE x32) 6-4, 7-6 (7/1)

Lesya Tsurenko (UKR x24) bt Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) 6-4, 7-6 (7/4)

Amanda Anisimova (USA) bt Monica Niculescu (ROM) 7-6 (7/3), 6-4

Katie Boulter (GBR) bt Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (10/6)

Aryna Sabalenka (BLR x11) bt Anna Kalinskaya (RUS) 6-1, 6-4

Ashleigh Barty (AUS x15) bt Luksika Kumkhum (THA) 6-2, 6-2

Wang Yafan (CHN) bt Ellen Perez (AUS) 6-4, 6-0

Astra Sharma (AUS) bt Priscilla Hon (AUS) 7-5, 4-6, 6-1

Maria Sakkari (GRE) bt Jelena Ostapenko (LAT x22) 6-1, 3-6, 6-2

Maria Sharapova (RUS x30) bt Harriet Dart (GBR) 6-0, 6-0

Rebecca Peterson (SWE) bt Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 6-4, 6-1

Johanna Larsson (SWE) bt Vera Lapko (BLR) 7-6 (7/5), 3-0 retired

Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x3) bt Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 6-3, 6-4

Sloane Stephens (USA x5) bt Taylor Townsend (USA) 6-4, 6-2

Timea Babos (HUN) bt Ons Jabeur (TUN) 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/3)

Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) bt Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) 6-3, 6-2

Petra Martic (CRO x31) bt Heather Watson (GBR) 6-1, 6-2

Anett Kontaveit (EST x20) bt Sara Sorribes (ESP) 6-3, 6-2

Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) bt Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 6-1, 6-1

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) bt Monica Puig (PUR) 6-4, 6-3

Kiki Bertens (NED x9) bt Alison Riske (USA) 6-3, 6-3

Danielle Collins (USA) bt Julia Georges (GER x14) 2-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4

Sachia Vickery (USA) bt Ysaline Bonaventure (BEL) 2-6, 6-4, 6-4

Zoe Hives (AUS) bt Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) 6-1, 6-2

Caroline Garcia (FRA x19) bt Jessika Ponchet (FRA) 6-2, 6-3

Donna Vekic (CRO x29) bt Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-2, 6-4

Kimberly Birrell (AUS) bt Paula Badosa (ESP) 6-4, 6-2

Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA) bt Bernarda Pera (USA) 6-3, 5-7, 6-4

Angelique Kerber (GER x2) bt Polona Hercog (SLO) 6-2, 6-2


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